Island men took a stand along the Vineyard Haven seawall Saturday afternoon in the eighth annual demonstration against domestic violence.

The event was organized by Connect to End Violence, a program of Martha’s Vineyard Community Services.

“The seawall protects the Island from storms and weather,” said Tisbury police detective Max Sherman who has participated in the event since its inception. “Eight years ago, I thought: why don’t we, as men, stand up on the seawall and be the ones to protect the Island.”

Men stood and carried signs to let women in their lives and beyond know they were there for them. — Mark Alan Lovewell

Mr. Sherman has two daughters, a wife and a mother that he was standing for. About 20 other men held signs, representative of the many women in their lives that they respect and care about.

“For my 11 nieces,” read one sign. “United against violence!” read another.

Mr. Sherman is one of the officers in his department trained to handle sexual assault cases, he said. For him, the demonstration also meant making his face familiar to those who may need his help now or in the future.

His sign read: “For those who feel they can’t speak up.”

Connect to End Violence program coordinator Jennifer Neary said many of the men who stood on the seawall have participated since the event’s inception, though she was also glad to see new faces. The event lasted from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Passing cars blared their horns in support, and a handful stopped to shake hands with the demonstrators.

“A lot of the time domestic violence is thought of as a women’s issue,” Ms. Neary said. “It’s not. It’s a human issue.”

Sterling Bishop, community outreach director for the Dukes County Sheriff and a member of Men Opposed to Violence Everywhere (MOVE), has attended the seawall event from the start.

Getting some shade from the afternoon heat, Mr. Bishop commented on how the interconnected organizations, such as Community Services, Connect, MOVE, SWEAR, and Island police departments, have ushered in a culture shift that has positively impacted domestic violence awareness on the Island.

“We all want the same thing,” he said. “For people to feel safe, and to feel supported.”