Person of the Week
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Dr. John Stewart

Updated: Monday, September 23 2013, 03:25 PM EDT
20 years ago, a group of men organized in Asheville to address a major problem facing women.

From the very beginning our Person of the Week has been part of men who care.  What motivated him is what he saw as a doctor, and even though he's retired now he continues to make a difference in the lives of others.

In a room full of men mostly, there is a story about to be told that is difficult listen too.

It's the story of Dora, a woman abused by a husband throughout her marriage.

Ann Flynn, Helpmate Development Director, "we need everybody, men and women to be talking about domestic violence and doing their part to educate folks about domestic violence."

"One of the first things he did was to take the locks off the doors so you would not be able to use the doors in the house."

"My husband was very good about hitting me in places you couldn't see."
"It would come out in the situations they were living in at home."

Dr. John Stewart has been seeing those situations since and before moving to Asheville 25 years ago.   As an OB/GYN, delivering babies and caring for mothers was only part of his job.  His medical training didn't quite prepare him for helping domestic violence victims beyond the emergency room.

Dr. John Stewart, "Person of the Week", "I was blown away by the frequency and severity of it.  I hadn't learned anything about it in medical school.  It's different now. It's certainly recognized in medical circles nowadays but I learned about it from my patients."

"He told me that the only way I would leave is in a gurney, and I did."

"I looked around to see if there was an agency I knew I was gonna need their services.  My patients would."

He found Helpmate, an agency that helps victims of domestic violence, and he's been their champion ever since.

"A volunteer, a board member, a donor, a great guy."

A man who felt other men needed to be more involved, so he helped start Men Who Care to raise awareness and funding.

"We saw an opportunity to bring those men together for there to be a male voice of recognition of the problem.   Really an opportunity for me to do something about it."

"If we don't reach everyone then children are learning from their fathers, boys are learning from their fathers that this is not the way to live our lives."

For Dr. Stewart, there is a new reason to do all he can to prevent abuse.  His first grandchild, a girl born just five days earlier.

Dr. John Stewart is also donating his time and medical skills to the group Doctors Without Borders.  He left last week to spend a month in Sudan helping those in need.

To learn more about Helpmate and how you can get involved, click here. Dr. John Stewart

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