Posted by Zeke Vainer

"Courage is not the absence of fear, but the mastery of it." ~Anonymous

Zeke VainerCourage is something I think about everyday. It takes courage to ask someone out. It takes courage to admit you are wrong. It takes courage to know when something is not right and to say something about it.

It takes courage to help a friend in need even though they don't want it and there is a risk that you may lose that friend. Courage is when you are afraid but you realize that taking action may be for the greater good.

As a young man I believe that men and boys need to be brave and stand up for those who cannot stand up for themselves. When we are aware of abuse towards others, we can help in many ways. As a junior in high school I think a lot about life in high school and all that happens every day in our building. Kids I know are hurting because they have an abusive partner and they feel alone and sad. As a member of the Melrose Alliance Against Violence's Student Action Board I have learned that we can help these friends. Here are a few things you can do:

  1. Be a supportive friend and listen
  2. Let them know that it's not their fault
  3. Be patient – nine times out of ten it is a long process for someone to decide to break up with an abusive partner
  4. Never underestimate the support of a friend and a hug

If it takes courage to help a friend who is being abused by her partner then I say, "Go for it!" Being that friend at most will save a life, and at least will let them know they are not alone and have the support they need to get help.

Zeke Vainer at White Ribbon Day 2011March 1 is White Ribbon Day, a day that challenges men and boys to take a stand against domestic violence. Last year I attended a White Ribbon Day ceremony at the State House and pledged to take action to end domestic violence against women. This year I challenge you all to take a few hours out of your day to join us and think about the women who are important in your life. Do you have the courage to publicly stand and say you care about domestic violence, and pledge to do something about it?

I hope to see you on March 1 at the State House!

Zeke Vainer is a 17-year-old junior at Melrose High School who enjoys many sports, especially soccer and wrestling. He is an active member in Melrose High School student government and with the Melrose Alliance Against Violence's Student Action Board. Zeke enjoys walking his dog, Lila; listening to many types of music; spending time with his older siblings and parents; hanging out with friends; and engaging in lively debates.