Women Reach, Men Respond and Unite Against Oppression

Saludos from Honduras!

I work at the only women's shelter for victims of domestic violence in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (Actually it's the only one in the country.) I'm from Ellensburg, Washington, USA. I didn't learn about RC until I moved here and began working with the shelter. The women's organization that runs the shelter uses "La Tecnica de Co-Escucha" (Co-Counseling) as the fundamental basis for all of our interactions with the women and children whom the shelter serves. Actually, we do not limit our work to women and children. We have found ourselves in the position of needing to provide attention to men who abuse. Our group definitely sees men as oppressed and in need of liberation, and we have done a little bit of counseling work with them.

In February of this year, the first law in this country against domestic violence went into effect. Part of the law stipulates that men must receive attention which would allow them to change their violent behavior and ideas. In a country in which eighty percent of all women are estimated to suffer some sort of abuse, it can be assumed that most men here could benefit from this attention. Unfortunately, there is not a single organization (public or private) that has experience offering such services.

A glimmer of light: Last year the director of my organization, Emma Mejia, along with Alicia Almendarez, the RC representative for Honduras, trained all the counselors in the public health centers in our area in the use of Co-Counseling. All but one of the psychologists and social workers who attended the training were women. The one man who participated started out very defensive toward Co-Counseling but at the end of the workshop was truly won over. He is now working with a support group here in the city for men who batter (surely the first in the country).

Our work with the women in the shelter is marching right along, in spite of our tremendous financial limitations. We have very little funding for this year, and none for next, so our energies unfortunately must be divided between the women and children and the whole grant-writing project.

Anne Marie Sorenson
Tegucigalpa, Honduras

Last modified: 2022-12-25 10:17:04+00