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Health Promot Int. 2010 Sep;25(3):299-308. doi: 10.1093/heapro/daq024. Epub 2010 Apr 28.

Eliciting behavior change in a US sexual violence and intimate partner violence prevention program through utilization of Freire and discussion facilitation.

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Rural Women's Health Project, Gainesville, FL, USA.


Designed by Migrant Clinicians Network, the Hombres Unidos Contra La Violencia Familiar (Men United Against Family Violence) Project used facilitated discussion groups as the method to encourage self-reflection and behavior change. Male participants were not taught to rectify any past sexual or intimate partner violence (SV/IPV) 'tendencies', rather the discussion facilitation allowed them to reflect on the SV/IPV that was present in their lives and in the Hispanic community. Subsequently, the sessions and self-reflection, coupled with the discussions with other participating males, empowered several participants to have further interactions about SV/IPV with individuals in their community. The discussions led participants to realize that SV/IPV existed in their community, but that there were males within their community that wanted to change. The Hombres Unidos Contra La Violencia Familiar project demonstrated that behavior change does not need to be actively persuaded, but that self-reflection, which elicits behavior change, can be achieved through facilitated discussion and by permitting the facilitators to become participants. By creating sessions that allow participants to construct their own understanding of the perceived problem while reflecting on their past behavior, true behavior change that is initiated by the participant can be achieved. Through discussion facilitation, a targeted and structured behavior change intervention can assist participants in realizing that their past actions were damaging to themselves and their community, while aiding the participant in employing self-initiated responses, learned within the discussions, to alter their behaviors.

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