Today the Washington Post looks into abuser intervention programs. These are important because it takes the responsibility to end domestic violence off the shoulders of the victims. Society is always asking why women don't leave, stand up for themselves, fight back, say no, press charges, kick him out. There is constant pressure for women to put an end to abuse that they did not start, nor go looking for. Abuser intervention programs seek to stop passing the buck to victims by putting this responsibility where it belongs, back into the hands that did the hurting. Not only that, but these programs demand growth, understanding, and change from its participants. However, they're not getting as much support as they need, even though such programs play a critical role in ending violence against women.
Sure, I get why these programs make people feel iffy (helping men who abuse their partners?!?!?! ahhhhh! no grant monies for you!), but just reading the person's story featured in the Washington Post should give some small ray of hope, right? Maybe? Though, I would like to know how common "success stories"such as this are, and I would also enjoy a follow up interview in like a year to see how he's coming on his committment to non violence. In addition, if one is a victim, it's virtually impossible to believe in a persons abiltity to change. Especially since we're taught that violence is a cycle that an abuser rarely, if ever, breaks.
It's hard not to feel strongly one way or the other, but for some more guidence and insight on the matter, I strongly encourgage all to check out the fantastic author of "The Macho Paradox: Why Some Men Hurt Women and How All Men Can Help," Jackson Katz. He discussess the importance of approaching "gender violence as a MEN'S issue involving men of all ages and socioeconomic, racial and ethnic backgrounds," and puts empahsis on viewing "men not only as perpetrators or possible offenders, but as empowered bystanders who can confront abusive peers." Not too shabby.
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