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In Brazil, Support Groups Also Help Perpetrators Of Domestic Violence

In a number of Brazilian states, judges are ordering those guilty of domestic violence to join group discussions. Participants say they're resistant at first, but eventually find the experience to be a real eye-opener.

Educating against violence
Educating against violence
Natalia Cancian

PARANOÁ — In a public building in Paranoá, in central Brazil's Federal District, a group of 15 people meet once a week to talk about domestic violence. In this case, though, the participants aren't victims seeking support. They're the perpetrators themselves, abusers who've either been referred here by the justice system, or, in rare instances, come of their own free will.

"We have to give men their share of responsibility," says Lucia Bessa, the Federal District's undersecretary for women's affairs. "Normally we women, whether it's about reporting abuse or leaving an abusive relationship, bear all the responsibility. But what about the male partner? What about the abuser?"

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Mariateresa Fichele

"Dottoré, I know you’re going to say I’m superstitious and strange, you always give rational answers ... but I have to ask you a question: Is it true that ever since our stadium was renamed after Maradona, Napoli doesn't win at home anymore?"

"So?"

"Could it be that Saint Paul, to whom the stadium was initially dedicated, got offended and is making us lose now?"

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