MONTEVIDEO – A municipal program in the Uruguayan capital is inviting non-governmental organizations to join a project to help men who have abused their partners to change their behavior, Gender Equality Office director Patricia Gonzalez told EFE.
“There’s a lot of work done with women on how to end an abusive relationship and how to get out of the situation. But men are just punished and we do little work with them,” Gonzalez said.
“Punishing them is fine, it’s necessary. We have fought hard to have legislation on it, but it is also necessary to think about what happens in future relationships,” Gonzalez said.
The program, launched in 2012, calls on NGOs to approach gender violence in a way that also considers how to guide abusers “into a process of behavioral modification,” the city official said.
“It’s crucial to set up this process of change. This is an approach for men who admit they have a problem and need assistance,” Gonzalez said.
Since the program started, an average of 150 men have enrolled each term and “roughly half of them have completed” the course, Gonzalez said.
In 2013, according to data from the 1st National Survey on Gender and Generational Violence, nearly seven out of 10 women in Uruguay 15 years and older experienced gender violence at some point in their lives.
The same report found that 45.4 percent of women were the targets of violence from a partner or former partner.