An Anti-Machismo Hotline is a Success in Colombia

More men than expected phoned in to discuss their role in violence against women.

Stark Raving

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Photo by Siavash Ghanbari on Unsplash

“I’ve lost my temper. I was worried I might hit my wife. I’m so jealous I don’t know what to do.” these are the sort of words that men usually say when they phone up the Calm Line, a new hotline in Colombia’s capital, Bogota, which men call call for free to talk to psychologists, who listen to their feelings without judgment and provide advice and direction.

The calls are often urgent, men who are angry or jealous and think they might turn to violence. They now have a place to turn before they do something they regret, become someone they don’t want to be.

“You can’t control this. In the end, this was her decision. What you can do in this case is think about how you’re going to handle it,” Calm Line psychologist Juan Francisco Valencia told one caller according to Remezcla.

Courtesy of Bogota municipality

“Unlearn Misogynistic Attitudes”

The Calma line website says it provides “A space for listening and counseling to handle emotional situations of any kind: anxiety, depression, concern for financial reasons, loneliness, family problems, love related grief, among others” as well as “Psychoeducational support with tools for cultural and behavioral change so that interested men can unlearn misogynistic attitudes and train in key aspects for peaceful coexistence and violence prevention, such as interpersonal communication, emotional management, peaceful resolution of conflicts, among others.”

It’s an amazing initiative, which puts men at the centre of the issue of male violence. After all, women cannot solve problems of domestic violence alone. Until men change their attitude and behavior, women will suffer, and the focus needs to be on the perpetrators of violence, not on women to alter their behavior.

The program was launched by the government of Claudia López, who last year became the first woman and the first member of the LGBTQ+ community to be mayor of Bogota. López has made fighting machismo part…

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Stark Raving

Intersectional feminism and environmental issues. Let’s make the world a kinder, more sustainable place. Support my work! https://starkraving.medium.com/members