DC based organization tests program aimed at stopping gender based violence

New data shows that an estimated 70 women are killed by an intimate partner every month.

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To prevent this type of violence, D.C. based organization Men Can Stop Rape is testing out a program called "Men of Strength," which is currently in its third round of evaluations by the CDC.

The program offers middle school boys a chance to work with an adult male facilitator each week, to unpack what they call dominant stories of masculinity and create counter stories about healthy masculinity.

"The goal was really to normalize men's involvement in preventing sexual assault and all forms of gender based violence. The research was really clear -- still continues to be clear that when sexual violence occurs, domestic violence occurs, overwhelmingly it's men who are perpetrating that violence," said Neil Irvin, Executive Director of Men Can Stop Rape.

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Another part of this story involves the criminal justice system. Local experts disagree on the role prosecutors and law enforcement should have in protection and prevention. Leigh Goodmark from the University of Maryland School of Law says data shows that prosecutions are not effective deterrents, and are often not what survivors want.

"We were offering victims a false sense of security by saying if you prosecute you will be saved, when in fact we have data to suggest that's not the case. The other important piece of data for me is that about half of people never turn to law enforcement at all, which means for about half of people we offer very little," said Goodmark.

Others experts say it wasn't that long ago that law enforcement didn't respond to domestic violence calls, so we should be careful when talking about police reform methods.


Lawmakers in Maryland are also hoping to tackle the problem of violence committed by intimate partners. Right now, a bill is working its way through the general assembly that would expand the definition of stalking to include cyber behavior and putting a tracking device on someone.