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Emerge! strives to end domestic violence with "Answer the Call"

Posted at 10:43 PM, Jun 26, 2017
and last updated 2017-06-27 01:43:24-04

Emerge! Center Against Domestic Abuse is striving to end domestic violence in Pima County. 

Frederick Strickland, an Emerge! participant, says his whole life has been changed because of the organization. 

"I was in a bad spot in my life," he said. "I was doing a lot of drugs, I was with my girlfriend at the time and there was a lot of domestic violence there and I wasn't talking to my family. I had a kid that I wasn't even participating in her life at the time." 

Strickland says last year he got arrested for domestic violence and possession of drugs. 

"A lot of it was me trying to just have control and dominance in my life and over the people in my life and my ex- partner. I just wanted to have her, she had to do what I told her to do or it wasn't going to fly," he explained. 

While on probation, he participated in the organization's curriculum for men. 

"I was like, 'Wow I don't want to keep repeating the same mistakes in my life.' You know I want to change, I want to be able to do things different. I want to be there for my family. I want to be there for daughter so I think that is what really made it click for me."

The curriculum helps break already learned behavior and have men think about manhood, according to Ed Mercurio-Sakwa, the CEO of Emerge!. 

The organization issued a call to action in the community to participate in "Answer the Call" to challenge people to think about their behaviors and beliefs, as well as step up if someone is a victim of domestic violence.

"If I know someone is being abusive or controlling of their partner can I step up and say this isn't okay, this is not normal, it's not acceptable and I am willing to help and support you getting the help you need," said Mercurio-Sakwa. 

For Strickland, he says he has a better relationship with his 4-year-old daughter, family and friends. He says now he accepts people for who they are.

For more information on the curriculum for men or "Answering the Call," click here.