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The Calma call center in Bogotá, where therapists help men unlearn machismo and vent their emotions. Photo: Secretaría de Cultura de Bogotá

Call centers and group meetings in Mexico and Colombia offer ways to combat violence against women by focusing directly on the men who perpetrate it.

Why it matters: Organizers hope the pilot programs can promote best practices to curb gender violence. They would also like to see the programs replicated across Latin America and the Caribbean, the region with the highest rate of sexual violence against women in the world, as well as alarming numbers of murdered women, according to the UN.

  • Most of the region’s countries have adopted policies to tackle this sort of violence and strengthen punishments. However, systemic issues, like distrust in and mistreatment from authorities, lead women not to report crimes like rape and translate to such violence still being pervasive.
  • The programs in Mexico and Colombia focus instead on prevention and unlearning negative stereotypes.

How it works: The programs, including the Calma call center in Bogotá and AA-style meetings from Gendes A.C. in Mexico City, offer counseling and education.

  • Calma, newly established by the local government of Bogotá, employs psychologists to answer phone calls from men struggling with their emotions but who, because of entrenched cultural patterns, lack proper outlets to talk them through.
  • In Mexico City, Gendes A.C. (short for Gender and Development in Spanish) organizes group therapy sessions that focus on how to foster a non-toxic relationship and how to respect women’s sexual boundaries.

Details: Calma has received an average of 20 calls a day since it was formally launched in October, Francisco Royett, the manager, tells Noticias Telemundo.

  • Calma specialists say they have defused possibly violent situations, in one case talking down a man who said he was thinking of killing his girlfriend over suspicions she was seeing someone else.
  • Colombia also has the Escuela de Desaprendizaje del Machismo (school to unlearn machismo) to train public officials to avoid blaming women who report violence.
  • Besides the therapy sessions, Gendes offers workshops on topics such as co-parenting and video campaigns with messages like “machismo is not destiny.”

Go deeper

Kendall Baker, author of Sports
Nov 25, 2021 - Sports

U.S. Soccer president: “We’re on the same side” as USWNT on equal pay

Photo: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Axios spoke with Cindy Parlow Cone, the president of U.S. Soccer (and former USWNT star), about the ongoing CBA negotiations and equal pay lawsuit.

There's a lot going on right now. Where do things stand at the U.S. Soccer Federation?

27 mins ago - World

Scoop: Iran preparing to enrich weapons-grade uranium, Israel warns U.S.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi holds a press conference. Photo: Presidency of Iran handout via Getty

Israel has shared intelligence over the past two weeks with the U.S. and several European allies suggesting that Iran is taking technical steps to prepare to enrich uranium to 90% purity — the level needed to produce a nuclear weapon, two U.S. sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: Enriching to 90% would bring Iran closer than ever to the nuclear threshold. The Israeli warnings come as nuclear talks resume in Vienna, with Iran returning to the negotiating table on Monday after a five-month hiatus.

Biden: Fight against Omicron won't include "shutdowns or lockdowns"

Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden on Monday said that the new coronavirus variant, Omicron, is "a cause for concern, not a cause for panic."

Driving the news: Biden said later this week the administration will be releasing a strategy on how "we're going to fight COVID this winter. Not with shutdowns or lockdowns, but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters, testing and more."