Masculinity Class Aims to Reduce Violence

Can toxic masculinity be cured? đŸ˜€ This nonprofit thinks so — and aims to rehabilitate male aggressors, and reduce jail time, through a masculinity class.

Can Masculinity Classes Curb Violence Against Women?

El Salvador has one of the highest rates of violence against woman in the world according to the Unite Nations. 67% of Salvadoran women have been victims of violence — but only 6% reported it to the police. His class tries to deconstruct toxic masculinity to rehabilitate men who commit those crimes prevent men from committing domestic violence. In El Salvador, a woman is murdered because of her gender every 18 hours based on data from the Institute of Legal Medicine. Benjamin Bonilla is the director of nonprofit Masculinities for Peace — known as Mas Paz.

Under El Salvador's court system, men convicted of a gender-based crime can take a masculinity course instead of more jail time. That's what most of these near 23-year-olds did. They asked to remain anonymous as their cases are sealed to protect the victims. Not all the men in Bonilla's class have been convicted of a crime — they're open to everyone. Still, not all participants are as open to the process as Mario was. Some resist the material, making homophobic remarks or pushing back against the concepts laid out in the course, Bonilla says.

The Mas Paz program asks participants to fill out a survey before and after the course about their attitudes towards women and gender violence, and Bonilla reports optimistic changes, although he says the organization has yet to analytically dissect the data to get further solutions towards feminist activism. To Bonilla's knowledge, no class participant has ever become a repeat offender after taking the class.