70 percent of women experience some form of physical or sexual violence from men “the majority from their husbands, intimate partners or someone they know,” according to the United Nations.
Today in England the government announced that from 2011, children will be taught from the age of five how to prevent violent relationships.
But is this something that can be taught?
Today is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, so there are any number of stories and press releases about programmes designed to do what the day says. But it’s interesting – so many of them, like this one in Zimbabwe, focus on teaching the women themselves. If a man hits a woman is it the woman’s problem or the man’s?
The head of the UN Ban Ki Moon has launched a “Network of Men Leaders” who are to teach each other that real men do not violate or oppress women.
In Australia men are being asked to sign up and swear an oath to end violence against women.
This blogger thinks that teaching children from a young age is the key.
Is there a point to teaching women and children that violence is bad when their husbands and fathers aren’t being taught the same thing?
Not everyone agrees that government should be involved in the campaign anyway. Margaret Morrissey, of the Parents Outloud campaign group said: “The Government should stop interfering with parents bringing up their children”.
On the programme today we’ll be hearing from men around the world who have, and still do, hit their partners to ask why, and if anything can change their minds. We’ll also be hearing from Ted Bunch, who started a programme in Brooklyn, New York which works with violent men. The depressing news from him is that despite all his counselling, 30% of the men he works with end up in court again charged with crimes relating to them hitting women. And that’s just the ones that end up in court.
Can men be taught not to hit women? If so, how? And if women and children are being taught one thing, but the message they’re getting at home is very different, how much can really change?