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Men take a stand against domestic violence

caines | 10/25/2012, 5:30 a.m.

All people are affected by abusive relationships not just women, kids Domestic violence is not a womens issue, according to Jonathan Spikes, the president of the Jonathan Spikes Foundation. It is a peoples issue. About 150 people, including numerous men, came together at the Evolution to Freedom: Men Taking A Stand Against Domestic Violence at the Cafeina Wynwood Lounge, hosted by the Jonathan Spikes Foundation. Attendees donated about $3000 for the benefit of domestic violence survivors who are a part of Safespace Foundation, Inc. Spikes said that during October there are many bad things said about men, but all men arent abusers and it is important to show women and children that domestic violence is just as important to men as it is to them. I felt that there was a need to get more men involved in the proactive strategies, Spikes said. We cannot tackle an issue with just half of the team showing up. It takes all of us. At the event, men and women danced as they proudly brought awareness of domestic violence. The attendees admired the paintings by Michael Hill that captured women who were affected by domestic violence and also breast cancer. The most beautiful form of life is a woman, Hill said. When a woman cant defend herself, there should be a man there to defend her. Some attendees shared stories amongst themselves about abusive relationships that they witnessed or heard of and a couple of domestic violence survivors shared their testimonies with the crowd. Author of Mad Lyfe of an NBA Wife, Sherri Patterson, shared that she also was a domestic violence survivor. She goes into detail of her relationship in her book. Maria Lourdes Ruiz said she was in an abusive relationship for 20 years that continues to cause pain. The relationship deeply troubled one of her daughters, and her daughter ended up committing suicide. Its not about me or man, Ruiz said, sadly, to the audience. Its about the children. In 80 percent of all domestic violence cases, children witness abuse. Jeannette Garofalo, president of Safespace Foundation, Inc., said that it was great to have men get involved. Men arent always the abusers, Garofalo said. Some men are abused and are ashamed to say it. Spikes was the victim in an abusive relationship for about a year. He said after the relationship, he realized that there are a lot of silent victims out there, which encouraged him to become more involved in bringing awareness. According to Garofalo, the event has been successful both years and the money that they collect isnt the most important thing. What is most important is raising awareness and letting domestic violence victims know that there are people who care and can help them, she said. By Malika A. Wrightmwright@miamitimesonline.com