“Uruguay responds to gender violence better than Italy or France”

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Oliver Malcor (48) is a trainer of the European Network of Care Programs for perpetrators of Gender Violence, his approach consists of deconstructing men through “games that do not look like games”. In addition to working with abusers and rapists in prisons, he gives prevention workshops and believes that gender violence is “an action”, which enables rehabilitation and behavior change. Above all, his work seeks to eradicate machismo. In the last week he was visiting Uruguay where he gave workshops to technicians from Inwomen.

-What is your theory on gender violence?

I think it’s a performance. It is a performance that has been learned. The man saw it in the family, he listened to it at night while he slept, he lived it with his friends as part of his culture and it shaped him as a person.

-Do you mean that there is no psychiatric component that affects?

-Exact. What does happen is that the person rehearsed the violence before carrying it out. The one who abuses children has to do more rehearsals because he has to approach them and instill some confidence in them, which would be grooming in English. He prepares everything, it is not an uncontrolled impulse, not at all, it is planned.

-So it is always possible to prevent or rehabilitate so that it does not happen again?

-Yes, the good news is that this abusive behavior can be unlearned. And that’s why theatrical tools are very useful. It is not easy, but it is possible. We have had very good results after conducting the workshops.

-How have you done with the courses you gave for the management technicians of Inmujeres del Mides?

-Very good, although they already do a lot here. I was impressed that they have a program for men who commit gender violence within the Police. I understand that the answer is never enough, but Uruguay is already very advanced.

-More than other countries you have visited?

-Yes, because Uruguay invests the same budget to combat gender violence as Italy, where the population is 20 times greater. It has the same number of beds for women who must leave their homes as a result of violence. In other words, Uruguay’s response is more advanced than that of Italy or France.

-What are the workshops you teach?

-I created a manual of games and creative tools that facilitate the work with violent men. Normally when we work with men there is a lot of resistance. My proposal is this, games that don’t look like games.

-Where are your workshops held?

-I work with all kinds of people, with politicians, with drug addicts, in jail, out of jail. I work with many young people who have committed crimes of gender violence, including online. I can do the workshops for groups of only women or men, or mixed groups. I can do workshops with 200 people or with 7. I can do them in very different places.

-What are the games you propose for?

They allow you to exchange roles. If a person is a prisoner of masculinity and finds no other response than violence, he is a person who needs to understand and work on other roles.

What would one of them be like?

I am going to tell you a very simple exercise. I ask the men to make a paper airplane together, but each can use only one hand. In other words, he has to collaborate, yield and accept the initiative of the other. If this is not done, the plane will never fly. People who have committed rape, for example, can’t play this game because they don’t know how to build with each other.

-It also offers prevention courses, right?

-Yes. We have seen that, with the same amount of resources, between 100 and 1,000 times more can be done in prevention than what is done when working after the assault has been committed, as happens when we offer workshops in prisons.

-What should be the response of the State to combat gender violence?

-The ideal is that the Justice system, the Ministry of the Interior, the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Health and the social organisms work together, and for that it is necessary to do a collective training. Here they have the advantage that Uruguay has three million people. The game gives you the possibility to work with 200 people at the same time. A discourse must be developed on the culture of violence and not only on blood.

“Uruguay responds to gender violence better than Italy or France”