The Distinguished Gentlemen club held a men’s rally against domestic violence in the Lower Level of John A. Barone Campus Center on Oct. 18. The rally consisted of a panel of Fairfield University staff who answered questions about what domestic violence means and how it can be prevented.
The rally is a staple event for the Distinguished Gentlemen. Senior member Robert Munoz said, “This is our annual domestic violence awareness campaign and social event. What we do is we go to this vigil downtown and that vigil is for those affected by domestic violence. After we come here and we try to raise awareness towards the case.”
The event stressed the idea that domestic abuse does not only present itself in the ways one expects.
Munoz continued, “Not a lot of people know what domestic violence is or what it looks like it isn’t just physical or hitting someone there’s more that goes into it and we really try to bring that awareness to people.”
Munoz and his fellow members strive to promote the club’s values of practicing healthy masculinity in life and in relationships.
Audience members acknowledged that some areas of domestic violence are often not talked about. Junior Yann Konan said, “The panel was a great way of teaching me about an ongoing social issue that most people neglect.”
Students were invited to have pizza and make t-shirts with messages against domestic violence, a problem that affects many on both a university and national level. The shirts were hung around the perimeter of the room.
“We are bringing light to the different forms that [domestic violence] takes. Telling guys how to avoid these things and practice healthy masculinity instead of becoming a domestic abuser,” explained member Moses Olimpio ’19.
According to The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), “48.4% of women and 48.8% of men have experienced at least one psychologically aggressive behavior by an intimate partner.”
The panel included Erika Sanchez and Dominica Hill who are campus advocates from The Center for Family Justice in Bridgeport, Conn., associate dean of students Dr. William Johnson, Ph.D, director of public safety Todd Palazzo and director of Upward Bound Rony Delva, MSW. The panel was moderated by the president of Distinguished Gentleman, Yamil Cobo ’19.
In his introduction of the panel, Cobo said, “What we really strive to do is breakdown the stigma of the alpha male and what it means to be a distinguished gentlemen.”
He then went on to talk about some of the events the Distinguished Gentlemen do on campus every year.“We do the rally every year, the women’s appreciation dinner which happens in March, we have done the Cultural Fashion Show hosted by the Student Diversity and Multicultural Affairs office, and we are doing tutoring in collaboration with Campus Ministry. So we are doing a lot on campus and we hope to do more as we progress in to the future,” said Cobo.
Distinguished Gentlemen is a group of welcoming young men who hope to change the way we look at masculinity.