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Ring the Bell: Patrick Stewart is Starting a New Movement to Help Women

On International Women’s Day, Sir Patrick Stewart helped to launch the global campaign, Ring The Bell. “One million men, one million promises, end violence against women.” The event took place in the Diplomat Ballroom at the UN Hotel and was attended by over 200 activists, actors, politicians, filmmakers and musicians. 

Stewart has spoken openly about his experiences as a child where he regularly witnessed the abuse of his mother by his father:

“I witnessed terrible things, which I knew were wrong, but there was nowhere to go for help. Worse, there were those who condoned the abuse. I heard police or ambulancemen, standing in our house, say, 'She must have provoked him,' or, 'Mrs Stewart, it takes two to make a fight.' They had no idea. The truth is my mother did nothing to deserve the violence she endured. She did not provoke my father, and even if she had, violence is an unacceptable way of dealing with conflict. Violence is a choice a man makes and he alone is responsible for it.”

A women is beaten once every nine seconds in the U.S. Stewart called violence against women the "single greatest human rights violation of our generation."  

Many others spoke including Michael Bolton and former NFL quarterback Don McPherson who said, "White people confronted white people to fight racism ... Men need to confront men." Dallas Mayor, Mike Rawlings also spoke at the kickoff event. He has vowed to curb Dallas’s domestic violence rate and will be holding a rally for men and boys in two weeks as part of the call to action by Ring the Bell. As many as 10,000 are expected to attend.

The, "Ring the Bell" campaign runs on the website Breakthrough.tv. Breakthrough is unique as a company because it helps to craft messages specifically for human rights campaigns. It uses a mixture of new media and traditional publicity techniques. It has offices in India and the U.S. While the "Ring the Bell" campaign is used in the English speaking world, in India, the campaign is known as "Bell Bajao." The hope is that this will help the campaign have a more global reach.

"Ring the Bell" is not only about a promise to stop domestic violence, but about men speaking to other men and intervening when they see or hear about it. It’s about not being passive bystanders and creating a social climate that condemns, rather than condones violence against women. 

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