Saturday, September 12, 2009

Domestic Violence Awareness

Most Worshipful Brother Roger Taylor made domestic abuse awareness a keystone of his year as Grand Master. Since then, off and on, programs have been presented on the issue, but no consistent program on the issue has been promoted by the Grand Lodge of Minnesota.

The recent death of North St Paul Police Officer Richard Crittenden, who was killed responding to a domestic abuse call, reminds us again of the serious and important issues raised by domestic abuse. I recently talked with Brother William Cowell, a criminal defense attorney in my county, who indicated that for the first time in his long career, he had as many defendants charged with domestic assault as with driving while impaired. Similar reports are made in other counties.

Statistics tell us that domestic abuse is not limited to one social class or one race. While alcohol or other drugs often contribute to the abuse, they are not the cause. Whatever the reason, stresses of the current economic downturn, abuse of chemicals, etc., there seems to be a real and significant increase in the number of reports of domestic assault.

MWB Taylor made it clear that domestic abuse is unmasonic conduct. I would agree. Our ladies deserve respect and protection, not abuse at the hands of their significant other – more especially if a Brother Mason.

Brother Chuck Nettestad, retired Chief of Police from Alexandria, has forwarded to me an announcement of a conference of the Men’s Action Network to Prevent Sexual and Domestic Violence. It will be held October 2 and 3 at Cragun’s Resort near Brainerd. The presenters are leaders in the field and are excellent speakers. The cost is most reasonable - $35 for the conference and $65 for the room for the night. Anyone interested in attending can click on the link above or contact the Grand Lodge Office for more information.

By the way, Brother Chuck also sends out a very nice weekly Peace Newsletter. If you are interested, contact him at to get on the distribution list. They arrive every Monday morning and are a very nice way to start the week.

Let’s be alert for opportunities we each have to take a stand against domestic abuse. As men and as Masons, it should be expected.