From rehabilitation to education and practice of counteracting the critical growth of domestic violence as a consequence of the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine

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The educational course “From rehabilitation to education and practice of counteracting the critical growth of domestic violence as a consequence of the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine” is implemented under the project “Overcoming the consequences of war together”.

Programs on counteracting the violence against women and children are implemented in Ukraine but it is the first time when program participants are not women who are often victims of violence but pro-active men who are ready to analyze personal and social experience in “peer-to-peer” conditions, to create teams and initiatives with alike men for domestic violence response in order to prevent the negative consequences of such a new phenomenon as domestic violence that is on the growth and rise.

Due to the conflict in the east of Ukraine there exists a growing aggression and violence in society that afflict such vulnerable segments of the population as women and children. Arising from the long-running military activities a number of men experienced in combat is increasing. At this time thousands of military men do a contract military service in Armed Forces and continue to take part in “anti-terrorism operation” where they often gain the traumatic experience whose consequences frequently impact on lives of themselves and people around them, when, after the return from the war the obtained traumas have influence on person’s acts in his family.

The educational program “From rehabilitation to education and practice of counteracting the critical growth of domestic violence as a consequence of the armed conflict in the east of Ukraine” consists of four consecutive trainings and is aimed at dealing with men participated in ATO and/or internally displaced persons, i.e. with representatives of those population categories that were directly affected by the war activities in the east of Ukraine.

8 civil volunteers who have never dealt with the topic of counteracting the domestic violence before took part in training activities. As a result of training they will become multiplicators who will implement their projects within this direction locally. The participants represented different regions and oblasts of Ukraine. There were either locals of Donbas, GCA and southern oblasts or representatives of the capital and Lviv oblast, central Ukraine and northern oblasts of the country among them.

The trainers of the first part of the educational course were Inna Airapetian, Rehabilitation Therapist Trainer, and Janetta Akhilgova, EMAP Trainer.

EMAP is a program that includes the consideration of such topics as reasons and favorable factors for violence occurrence, status and power, interaction and interdependence between victim and violator, overall impact of violence on society and EMAP practical tools to counteract the violence against women and children.

During the first two days Inna Airapetian worked with participants on program of rehabilitation through personal experience of participants. Applying to complex of APT techniques men worked on their own feelings and emotional experience and shared their personal stories. “The formed trustworthy space made possible for the participants to work deeply on their own feelings, find out more about themselves, learn how to express their feelings, listen to each other and learn more about their own needs, fears and resources” – Course Trainer says.

During 4 days Janetta Akhilgova worked with the participants on topics related to gender roles in society, “figures of perfect man” created by society and discussed the consequences of these forced figures for men’s life. Especially the participants remembered a creation of “boxes for expectations and stereotypes” that men have to be consistent with. Any escape out of the box causes a public condemnation as if it is something intolerable. The participants saw that stereotypes really influence on us and prevent us from living.

The participants of the first module mentioned that this training gives them a possibility to gain new knowledge and desire to put the gained knowledge into practice. Also they highlighted the professional competence of trainers and their talents at teambuilding and ability to present information clearly.

The next phase of program will include trainings on capacity building for trainers, organization and conducting of information campaigns on prevention of domestic violence, creation and delivering presentations of their own projects, and participants will be able to independently deliver trainings on involvement of men into the important practices on counteracting the domestic violence through non-violent communication and other efficient tecniques, organize and deliver information campaigns on counteracting the domestic violence. It should be mentioned that the whole educational course is an authorial program of project organizers that is built on experience and expert examination of specialists practicing in post-conflict countries.