Restored is developing in partnership with Paz y Esperanza Int. an On-line course for pastors and church leaders to address domestic violence and support victims & survivors. This is an exciting opportunity to challenge and bring positive change to a culture that allows domestic abuse across Latin America.It has been internationally recognized that faith organization have a key role to play not only attending survivors; but also influencing the local communities where no other actor has access.
The need is urgent. Male violence is a worldwide epidemic affecting an estimated one in three of all women. In Latin America, machismo culture defines the way women are seen and promotes domestic abuse. In Ecuador 61% of women have been victims of violence, and 53% believe there is no room for separation in marriage. Some of the Church's understandings of the Bible lead to abuse being justified, and to a culture that perpetuates violence. Information is often non-existent or incomplete.
The first step to solve a problem is to understand it; hence the importance of a baseline study. This will drive awareness and action. Faith and beliefs have a powerful effect on people's behaviours and responses. Church members who are trained to address domestic abuse will then be able to impact their communities for change. As well as a campaign and training, the project will provide links to local services for both survivors and perpetrators.
We believe that we will see a sustained and substantial reduction in the levels of domestic violence in churches and communities across Latin America. The baseline study will be the foundation for a 5 year campaign to promote positive masculinity and challenge domestic violence that will be rolled out across the continent. We expect to reach several million people leading to changes in attitudes and actions by men and a reduction in violence.