Vanuatu island from above by Eugene Kaspersky, Flickr, under CC BY NC SA 2.0

Image: Eugene Kaspersky, Flickr, under CC BY NC SA 2.0

Men’s behaviour change programs: good news and lessons from the Pacific

22nd August 2019

By Miranda Forsyth

A pilot program to address gender-based violence (GBV) in Vanuatu has shown promise to engender meaningful attitude and behaviour change. So far, the Men’s Behaviour Change (MBC) program has been delivered to about 50 men. A preliminary evaluation points to some of the early successes, and possible improvements.

MBC is a 10-session small group therapy program for perpetrators of violence (either self-identified or selected by community leaders to attend). The program aims to assist men to reduce and stop family and domestic violence. The sessions address attitudes and behaviours around abuse whilst creating opportunities for men to understand the impact of their violence on their partners and families. It also supports men to recognise they can change and have caring, healthy and equal relationships.

This training has a strong focus of working with men and perpetrators of violence to: 1) accept responsibility for their action; 2) see violence as a choice; and 3) provide practical tools and strategies to change their behaviour. A co-designer of the program, Kara Duncan-Hewitt, observed:

“A key and foundational part of this is to promote empathy, using experiential exercises to support those in power to have a heart-felt understanding of the victim’s experience and reality, in order to help shift and disqualify cultural and religious justification for the violence. Key to this exploration and uptake is education is the concept of spiritual abuse. To support this work, positive values of theology and culture are utilised to confront and challenge oppression and misuse of power, and further utilised to advocate for healthy and safe families and communities.”

Read the entire blog on Power to Persuade.

Image: Eugene Kaspersky, Flickr, under CC BY NC SA 2.0.

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