Bolton Sings and Speaks Out for Women

03/07/2003 at 11:00 AM EST

Michael Bolton made it clear in Washington how a man really loves a woman, calling upon other men to combat violence against women, reports PEOPLE.

"We're here because we believe this is not just a women's issue," the four-octave singer, 50, told more than 400 people gathered at the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence's 25th Anniversary gala Wednesday night. "We believe that men have a responsibility to communicate with clarity, and without reservation, that real men do not commit or tolerate violence against women."

Bolton followed his remarks with three songs, including "When a Man Loves a Woman" -- a special request from the National Coalition.

The morning after the gala, Bolton joined other activists, including Christina Aguilera's mom, Shelly Kearns, on Capitol Hill for a series of panels and discussions with members of Congress as part of Lifetime TV's second annual Stop Violence Against Women week.

"Christina's father was my abuser," Kearns said. "We were in the army, so we traveled a lot. Each place we'd go, I'd get a phone book and write down the number of the local woman's shelter. That number meant life, freedom, and safety for Christina and me."

Bolton and the coalition urged Congress to fully fund programs initiated under the Violence Against Women Act, asking for an additional $100 million to aid in areas such as shelters, victim counseling, and education.

Bolton said his activism on this issue partially stems from his love of three women in his life -- his daughters Isa, Holly and Taryn.

Violence against women is "something I've always been conscious of with them," Bolton told PEOPLE. "We've spoken about it. We can talk about anything. That element of concern and leaning toward the protective side with your daughter, this is the reason why this will resonate the most with men."

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