DALLAS — For years, domestic violence was that secret no one, especially men, talked about. But two years ago, Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings took it on as his cause.
"I realize this has been positioned as a women's issue for way too long and the truth of the matter is it's a men's issue," he said Friday morning during a breakfast where he addressed the issue.
"Never, never, never, never hit a woman, OK," he continued. "You got it?"
He honored Trent Kreslins, an Oklahoma University senior who saw a woman being hit by her boyfriend during Texas-OU weekend. He stepped up and told the abuser it was wrong.
"When I saw it in public, it was an instinctual reaction," he said. "I didn't just want to be another person that saw some sort of violence and just walked by."
Kreslins was beaten up for speaking out. A group of guys jumped him and broke his nose.
Mayor Rawlings said he applauds Kreslins' courage and action.
The Domestic Violence Task Force, led by councilwoman Jennifer Staubach Gates, unveiled two years worth of data. What they found was there has been progress
Dallas police filed more than 4,000 cases last year alone, and more violent and habitual abusers went to jail. The Dallas Police Department is also doing a better job of keeping track of them. Ninety-eight percent of high risk batterers were assigned to intervention programs. Twenty-two successfully completed the program, while 20 had probation revoked and went to jail.
"We can make sure we can track the batterers throughout the system and know which ones are being put away and which ones are not," Rawlings said.
But, there's still a need for more safe places. Shelters are full. More than 10,000 men, women and children were turned away because there was no space for them.
So, while there are steps forward, there's still a long way to go.