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BALLSTON: Men's group opposes abuse

"We want to continuously seek ways to make the courtroom safer, and at the same time, make sure guys who are hurting their women and children don't just go free," said Guider.

Town board members said they are happy to work with the group on these and other measures. Another goal is to find a way to make brochures on services available to women accessible in a safe environment. Currently, the brochures are at the front of the court room, but might be better suited to a quiet hallway or even the women's restroom.

"We support these measures completely," said Town Council Member Mary Beth Hynes, who brought Guider's requests to the town board last year.

"These are issues we need to bring to the attention of the public."

Guider said he is also hoping to establish a permanent link to the town's Web site on joining Ballston Men Against Violence, available services and upcoming events.

"Women and girls can log onto the town Web site without jeopardizing being caught," said Guider. "There is so much shame associated with violence in the home, between family members, or with boys teenage girls are dating. There is this misconception violence only happens in big cities; and people in rural areas are ashamed to come forward."

Guider said other future plans include establishing a town sub-committee to address domestic and sexual abuse in Ballston, and to establish a policy on domestic violence in the workplace for the town's employees. They are also working to set up a speaker's bureau to talk to civic groups, church members, and at the local high schools.

The group has already had an indelible effect on some local women.

"At every meeting, there are women who disclose they've been victimized," said Guider. "There are simply too many women and girls being hurt. Being part of our group can be empowering for women."

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