DALLAS — On a rainy Saturday morning, hundreds of people attended an open air rally at Dallas City Hall Plaza to denounce the epidemic of domestic violence.
"This is amazing that the men of Dallas are this excited about something that's not about sports," said Mayor Mike Rawlings, who spearheaded the Dallas Men Against Abuse event in the wake of disturbing crime figures.
Dallas police Chief David Brown said the issue has emerged as his department's "highest priority."
"Each year we have over 13,000 domestic abuse cases; 4,000 warrants need to be served; currently outstanding we have about 400 people we're looking for to bring to justice," Brown said. "One message we have to abusers: You can run, but you can't hide."
WFAA sports anchor Dale Hansen delivered an emotional and haunting story from his youth. When he was seven years old, Hansen said he saw his mother's nose broken by a punch from his father.
"My dad was the strongest man," Hansen said. "Never has such a big man looked so small in the eyes of a little boy."
Dallas Cowboys legends Emmitt Smith and Roger Staubach also appeared on stage to urge men to act appropriately.
"You can always defuse a situation, but you can never go back and recover from it," Smith said. "If you are in a situation that you feel you need to get away, then get away."
"It's amazing that we even have to have this rally," Staubach added, relating a story about a friend who bore witness to domestic violence in his home. Staubach urged women who are victims or who fear they may be victims to seek assistance from agencies that are standing by to help.