An nongovernmental organization in Yogyakarta is developing a counseling program to serve as an alternative to settling domestic abuse cases in court, as the group says raising awareness was more likely to reduce domestic violence.
Nur Hasyim, the media, research and training manager at Rifka Annisa, said 90 percent of domestic violence complaints taken to court end up being withdrawn, with wives usually choosing reconciliation for social or financial reasons.
“ Based on that fact, we have developed a special individual counseling program for husbands,” said Hasyim, also a counselor at the NGO. “We need to change men’s perspective so abused women can feel more secure in going back home.”
He said the program required husbands to attend 12 meetings with the group’s male counselors. The meetings include discussions on issues like gender, culture and religion and on how to build better relationships with their spouses.
“We coach them on how to be more communicative with their wives, including improving their negotiating skills, as well as giving them anger management training,” he said.
Counselors follow up on the training by monitoring each participant’s progress on a weekly basis, Hasyim said, adding that this usually meant phoning the men’s wives.
Hasyim said nine abusive husbands were currently following the program, mainly because they wanted to change their behavior. Most, he said, were guilty of milder cases of abuse.
The major difficulty with the program, he said, was getting the husbands to join. “Men really need to be encouraged to enrol in this program because our patriarchal culture makes them resistant.”
Hasyim said the participants had undergone some significant changes after following the program, according to reports fromtheir wives. (Anita Rachman)
Source :The Jakarta Globe