YWCA to Host "A Call to Coaches" to Reduce Violence Against Women

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee is building a coalition to reduce violence against women and girls and will host "A Call to Coaches" on April 10 to help accomplish that goal.

The free program, scheduled from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. at Montgomery Bell Academy, 4001 Harding Road, will feature guest speaker and "A CALL TO MEN" co-founder Tony Porter, as well as a panel discussion with athletics directors, coaches and athletes. The program is part of the YWCA's "Engaging Men" initiative that was launched about 18 months ago. Registration is not required, but is suggested (click here to register). Walk-ins will be allowed if space permits.




Click here to register for YWCA's free event, "A Call to Coaches."

YWCA of Nashville and Middle Tennessee Executive Director Pat Shea said the program is designed to stress the important role that all mentors play in shaping the character of young people. Shea said the event is open to anyone, male or female, who wants to reduce domestic violence through their work as a coach, Sunday school teacher, scouts troop leader or mentor of other young people.   

"There are some very smart people who have been studying how to really end violence against women and girls, and specifically violence that is perpetrated by men," Shea said. "The logic is that most men are wonderful, most men are good men, and there's only the rare few that are causing a whole lot of trouble, so instead of having our society focus on those bad guys, the (YWCA) is really embracing the good men and saying help us work on a long-term strategy to raise all men to be good men and create a culture that totally supports men's ability to embrace and love women and girls."

Shea said the event will focus on "how important coaches are to the development of healthy, strong, wonderful men."

"One coach said if you're not a gentleman Monday through Friday, you can't be on my team on Saturday, and then there are other coaches who elevate young men because of their athletic ability and don't feel the need to also develop their moral character," Shea said. "We're saying coaches have the ability, when they do highlight a young boy because of his athletic ability, to also make sure that he brings with his gift the moral fiber for being a good man. It starts with being a good father, with being a good spouse."

Those scheduled to appear as panelists include: TSSAA Executive Director Bernard Childress, former Middle Tennessee football coach and CEO of Backfield in Motion James "Boots" Donnelly, Austin Peay basketball coach Dave Loos, Vanderbilt football coach Derek Mason, former Titans/Oilers receiver and MBA athletic department liaison Chris Sanders, Titans tight end Delanie Walker and Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director David Williams. Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com and 104.5-FM The Zone is scheduled to emcee the program.

Shea said the YWCA appreciates the help of the panelists and the community leaders who served on the event's host committee to raise awareness to the prevalent problem of domestic violence and recruit others to help eliminate it.

"Having men stand up and take a position really reinforces the idea that you're only as good as what you walk by. If you see something you don't agree with, if you hear a coach tell a young boy he's playing like a girl, if you hear a dialogue of men who talk degradingly about a woman, use terms that are violent, if you're son or brother or uncle is calling someone names that are really derogatory because of terms of gender, stopping that," Shea said. "I have a hard time, how does it happen sometimes in a culture that men can walk by situations where women are being abused and feel it's not their problem? "Tony says if a man saw a fire, he'd call the fire department. If he saw a bank robbery, he'd call the police department, but if his neighbor was beating his wife, he might just turn the game up louder. How does that happen? We're asking good men to see what it's really like. … When you start talking to good men and they know the data, they want to get involved."

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