Local leaders and elected officials recited a pledge vowing to put an end to domestic assault and sexual abuse at a meeting Friday in the courtyard of the Allegheny County Courthouse.
Attendees spoke about why they choose to fight against domestic violence and signed a petition, but admitted they know words on a page won't begin to end the battle against domestic abuse.
“The conversation cannot end with helping victims individually to be safer,” said Kristy Trautmann, executive director of the FISA Foundation. “We can’t build enough women’s shelters to end violence against women, and so we’re here to have a new conversation together, put a stake in the ground and say these crimes are 100 percent preventable.”
Charlie Batch, former Steelers quarterback and founder of the Best of the Batch Foundation, said he and his wife work to end domestic violence because he experienced it firsthand as a child.
“I remember being taken out of school, out of elementary school, because situations happened, my mother coming home with black eyes, and then to experience it for the first time,” Batch said. “I remember because her friends or the people that we were around were afraid to speak up, because they said it was (our) problem.”
He said one time, his father pulled a gun on his mother, and if she had chosen to remain quiet about the violence, she probably would not be alive today.
Bob Nelkin, president of the United Way of Allegheny County, said the problem needs to be addressed by teaching men the importance of valuing and respecting women from a young age.
“One of the innovative ways that we’re going to go at this is working with young men and the caring adults, who are coaches, after school workers, teachers, clergy,” Nelkin said.
Shirl Regan, president and CEO of the Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh, said when people take the pledge, it sends a good message.
“This is a glorious day for women, children and men in the city of Pittsburgh and the county of Allegheny,” Regan said. “We are going to make this the safest place for families.”
The officials called on the public to also take the pledge, which can be found on the official No More website.