Rawlings Pushes Pledge Against Domestic Violence

Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings is tackling domestic abuse by taking the issue to the high school gridiron.  He wants players, fans, and parents to make a pledge to stop the violence and vow not to hit a woman, to report abuse and teach kids not to stand for it.

Thursday and Friday night, at all DISD football games, the halftime show will include a message from the mayor.

“You can call a guy who abuses women a lot of things, but you can’t call him a man.  A man doesn't hit a woman, ever.  A man doesn't find jokes about hitting women funny or songs about hitting women acceptable,” Rawlings said in a public service announcement earlier this year.

The mayor is making the initiative to take the pledge a competition. The football team for whichever school obtains the most pledges will get to play a game at AT&T Stadium in 2014 courtesy of the Dallas Cowboys.

The game is a bonus for Adamson High junior David Banda to the true goal.  “First thing’s first.  We would like domestic violence to end first, then we can get our priorities straight.  Win our game and be able to play in the Cowboy’s stadium and win that game as well.”

At Adamson High School, they have their sights set on victory to get the most pledges in the Mayor's push to take a stand against domestic violence. In fact, the football team started its own campaign that's now taken off across the country.

“We try to teach our young men it's more than just football. It’s more than just winning. It’s more than just losing. It’s life lessons and domestic violence awareness, it affects everybody,” says Head Football Coach and Athletic Coordinator Josh Ragsdale.

But the effort doesn't just stop at Adamson.

In October, during Domestic Violence Awareness month, Coach Ragsdale and the Leopards petitioned other teams to take this challenge: “I Pledge to Stop Domestic Violence because… We wanted them to finish the sentence,” Ragsdale said.

The response has been overwhelming, more than five hundred players have filled in the blank.  The team has posted the pictures it’s received from across the country on its Twitter page @AdamsonLeopards.

David Banda’s hits home: “I Pledge to Stop Domestic Violence because I wouldn’t want anyone to treat my mother that way.”

“As a child, my father he was a different man back then. I saw my mother going through different things. As a child parents don't think we see it, but we do,” Banda said.

Dallas police report so far in 2013 there have been more than 7,800 reports of domestic violence and 3,400 cases filed.  Both numbers are up from last year. Additionally, there have been 21 domestic violence-related murders this year.

Voting in the competition can be done online at DallasMenAgainstAbuse.com.  At last check, Adamson High School was in the lead with more than 1,000 votes.

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