We had a male shelter use today. It will be a slightly longer period of use.
At JAFAREC, women can use the service and so can men. Recently, a few shelters for male victims have started to be opened, but I have no idea how many shelters for men there are in Japan, or how they are operated. However, compared to women’s shelters, there are almost none.
It was about ten years ago that I started running a shelter that is open to both men and women, regardless of their victimization. From the beginning, the JAFAREC shelter was open to men as well.
In terms of the number of men and women who use the shelter, it is about 50/50. They range in length from a few days to several months. The longest user was a man of nine months. There are also mothers and daughters of five and a half months and men of five months. For men, they can commute from the shelter to their workplaces, which is like a regular working alone away from family. Much easier than a mother and child escaping to a shelter.
At JAFAREC, unlike most shelters, we do not restrict communication or behavior, nor do we provide guidance or supervision. Group workshops and counseling are also available, as well as Gourmet Nights where you can talk freely with people from different backgrounds.
How supportive it is for victims who have been hurt by violence to have a shelter that can also help them deal with their abusers. It is only by having the skills to deal with perpetrators that victims can prevent perpetrators from attacking them and promote dialogue instead of running and hiding.
In this way, the victims really feel at ease, they recover, gain strength, change their relationship with the abuser, and leave the JAFAREC with a new life or a new marital relationship. And some of them come to me from time to time as if they were going back to their parents’ home.
Even when used by alleged perpetrators, they can still grow and let go of violence, power and control. In the workshops, with the fellow participants of the Gourmet Night, and of course with me, they can learn to be equals, neither controlled nor controlled. This is a learning experience that cannot be obtained in a correctional or educational facility.
I wish there were more shelters like this, but there aren’t… There are not many people in the world who really understand domestic violence in the first place. I guess I’ll just have to increase the number of people who do…
Originally posted on October 2, 2017
English text translated with DeepL (Japanese to English) and checked by Mina.