· Leadership Development

Gil Hanke holds the Community Leader Award as he joins Scott Hamilton, three-time World Figure Skating champion and the recipient of the gold medal at the 1984 Winter Olympics.


Scott Hamilton delivers his ‘most difficult talk’

NASHVILE, Tenn.–– “This is the most difficult talk I’ve ever given."

That is how Scott Hamilton, an Olympic champion skater who has delivered hundreds of speeches, began his Sept. 13 keynote address to Nashville leaders committed to ending violence against women and girls.

“We are here to talk about something we don’t want to talk about,” Hamilton told 500 attendees at the third annual AMEND Together breakfast, sponsored by the YWCA of Middle Tennessee.

He spoke about women in his life who experienced abuse and said “I have so many regrets” as he thought about what he might have done and what he did not do to counter a boys-will-be-boys culture that treats women as sexual objects.

Hamilton, the survivor of testicular cancer and three brain tumor diagnoses, derives much of his fighting spirit from Scripture. He suggests Paul’s letter to the Church at Galatia provides wise counsel for those who seek ways to end domestic violence. Paul cites the fruits of the spirit as “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, good, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Galatians 5: 22-23).

“Violence against women ends here,” concluded Hamilton as he called for support of the AMEND program designed to make Nashville the safest city in the nation for women and girls.

The AMEND program

Noting that one of every four women will be a victim of domestic violence and one in five will be raped, the YWCA provided housing for victims of domestic abuse. The city currently houses 60 victims of domestic violence in undisclosed shelters across the city.

As the demand for housing increased, in 2014, the YWCA created the AMEND program to address the root causes of violence against women.

The General Commission on United Methodist Men joined the effort by creating Amending through Faith, an 8-week study that helps men and boys challenge a culture that supports violence against women.

Hanke receives award

During the breakfast meeting at the Omni Hotel, the YWCA presented awards to four community leaders.

The “Community Leader of the Year Award” was presented to Gil Hanke, top staff executive of the General Commission on United Methodist Men. He was cited for his work in creating the 8-week study and as a leader of the only faith community involved in the effort.



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