By Joanna Weiss

  | GLOBE COLUMNIST   SEPTEMBER 12, 2014

Curbing domestic violence, and all of the horrors that branch out from it, has something to do with the power of individuals. But it has a lot to do with the power of groups. #WhyIStayed was launched by one woman, but grew into a stream of private confessions. Collectively, they’ve changed the conversation.

And that dynamic can work on the ground, said Nancy Robinson, the executive director of Operation LIPSTICK, a Boston-based program that enlists women’s help in stopping gun trafficking in inner cities. At social events and leadership training meetings, women learn that the guns they buy or hide — because their boyfriends or brothers or grandsons have asked, or demanded — could wind up used against them or their neighbors. They meet other women who have said “no.” They find the strength to do the same.

“It’s all peer-to-peer organizing and word of mouth,” Robinson told me this week. “It’s a lot like Mothers Against Drunk Driving. It’s changing the culture. Right now, there’s a norm that says it’s OK to do this. And these women are changing the norm.”

This is what the NFL has to do: Change the way players think about domestic violence, and not just out of fear of a six-game suspension.

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Ray Rice