Venezuelan Anti-Domestic Violence Campaign Targets Men
By Humberto Marquez - IPS
Friday September 28th 2007
CARACAS, Sep 27 (IPS) - If the coffee is cold, he goes ballistic, smashes the cup on the floor and lashes out at his partner. If she doesn’t come running when he calls, or their daughter cries, he shouts impatiently and hits her. These are some of the scenes in unprecedented TV spots now appearing in Venezuela.
Sports newspapers, racing magazines, movie theatres, community radio stations and TV stations are publishing or screening brief ads as part of the new campaign "Count to Three: You, she, your family. Bring out what’s best in you. Stop the violence."
"Previous campaigns have been aimed at women, encouraging them to report domestic violence, but this one is directed at male aggressors, inviting them to reflect about violence against women and girls, without piling on the blame," Leoncio Barrios, a professor of social psychology at the Central University of Venezuela, told IPS.
Changing the message has been discussed for years. "The question used to be, ‘Why does she put up with it?’ instead of ‘Why does he hit her?’ Now we want to get men on our side, so that they stop hitting and insulting women," said Ofelia Álvarez, head of Fundamujer, a non-governmental organisation (NGO) that works for the prevention of domestic violence.
Count to Three will reinforce work aimed at violent men, "who often have trouble admitting their faults and frequently lash out at their partners as a result," Luisa Limada, an activist at the Women’s House in Rio Caribe, a fishing village in Venezuela’s northeastern Paria peninsula, told IPS.
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