Patriarchy Really Is to Blame

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It seems there is more than one person in Texas who has figured out that PATRIARCHY IS TO BLAME.

Here's a story from Women's e News about a new program to rehabilitate batterers. Unlike many other programs designed to treat batterers, which "have typically looked at how batterers use violence to control their victims--or counseled them on how to manage 'out of control' anger--staffers at Travis [County Sheriff Department in Austin, Texas] say this program assumes that violence arises from a decision based on deeply-held beliefs of male dominance, not a flash of 'uncontrollable' emotion."

Instead, batterers are shown that they have choices. In group meetings, batterers "are led step by step to recall and re-enact what they felt, thought and did as domestic conflicts escalated and turned violent. Often, [George Jurand, coordinator of the San Francisco sheriff's department's Resolve to Stop the Violence Project] said, the offenders can be expected to voice the idea that, as men, they should be dominant. This 'male-role belief system' is then linked to its destructive consequences: arrest, imprisonment or loss of family."

An important feature of the program is having offenders listen to the stories of survivors of violence, who describe the terror and pain such violence inflicts on women and their children.

Classes are also taught and workshops led by men who once were batterers themselves, and focus making batterers accountable for their decisions to use violence. The program shows significant results: data reported in 2002 showed that "compared with offenders who did not participate, [program] participants showed an 80-percent steeper decline in repeat violence after 16 weeks. Those spending 12 weeks in the program showed a 51-percent steeper decline and those in the program for four weeks had a 42-percent steeper decline in repeat violence."

Well, imagine that: teaching men who commit violence against women that IT'S WRONG, THAT THE MEN ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE VIOLENCE AND THEY CAN STOP IT, actually works.

1 Comment

As 'Duh' obvious as this may seem, I'm heartened by this program. I hear so much theory-based critcism in the academy that it's good to see something concrete and constructive coming out of the understanding of the structures of power that pervade our lives. I'm being self-critical--I tend to censure and whine, but I think I do too little to try to eradicate the problems.

My stereotype of Texas has softened a bit, too. :)

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This page contains a single entry by Holly published on January 30, 2006 8:54 AM.

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