From NY Mag: Meet the Man’s-Man Mayor Who’s Trying to End Domestic Abuse

March 12, 2013

You don’t need a Y chromosome to know Mike Rawlings is a man’s man. Before he became mayor of Dallas in 2011, he was the top executive at Pizza Hut and, before that, an athlete. He has a full of head of gray hair and a voice like Jeff Daniels. When he talks, he relies heavily on sports metaphors. None of this should make his anti-domestic-violence activism surprising, but it might make him the movement’s most refreshing new spokesman.

Last month, Rawlings firmly requested the presence of 10,000 Dallas men — Boy Scouts welcome, too — at City Hall on March 23, to show their solidarity for his just-announced Men Against Abuse campaign. “I decided to call out the men of Dallas,” Rawlings told the Cut. “I said, this is not a women’s issue, this is a men’s issue. Eighty-five, 90 percent of domestic violence is men on women.”

When we met in New York, Rawlings was drinking orange juice at the Plaza Hotel, where he stayed while in town for the United Nation’s Council on the Status of Women. He was the keynote speaker at an International Women’s Day event put on by celebrity-studded anti-abuse campaign Ring the Bell, which reached out after it got wind of his Dallas rally. It was his first time attending the conference.

“I’m Johnny-come-lately to this issue,” Rawlings said, adding that he probably wouldn’t be in New York if not for his “puppeteers” at two prominent Dallas shelters, the Family Place and Genesis Women’s Shelter. “I said, ‘I’ve got other things I need to do,’ and they said, ‘You need to make this speech, we’ve got momentum going.’”

Since then, Rawlings has enlisted former Dallas Cowboys Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman, and Roger Staubach in the campaign and honed his critique of men’s complacency in the so-called “culture of violence.” “We all laugh at the jokes in locker rooms; we wear ‘wife-beaters’ and we listen to the music. It’s just part of our culture and it snuck up on us,” he said. “Men, it is time for us to say no mas.”

The Cut had Rawlings talk us through his sudden-onset activism. Read the rest of the article by clicking here.