We know that violence is learned. The men we work with are the little boys who grew-up with serious childhood trauma– witnessing domestic violence in their own homes, having been the victims of child abuse and neglect, or living day-to-day in environments rife with violence, victimization, injury and death.
Compelling new research in brain science provides clear evidence that such adverse experiences in childhood have a profound and lasting impact on a child’s physical, emotional, cognitive and psychological development. In essence the prolonged, repeated and unpredictable “war zones” inside people’s homes and neighborhoods create a response similar to that of PTSD in war veterans. For boys and men who grew up in such environments, the trauma effects are often manifest through rage or violence, and through severe difficulties in interpersonal relationships.
Primed for violence in their home, these are also the little boys who are most vulnerable to negative stereotypes and destructive myths of masculinity in our culture which continue to connect “manhood” with aggression, toughness, dominance over girls/women, and perpetration of violence.
We know that anything learned can be unlearned. The new research also brings good news about how to heal trauma and create peaceful change.
Alma Center programs are developed from the core philosophy that men who perpetrate domestic violence can change. When the men are able to identify and resolve the trauma in their own lives, they are able to acquire the skills and understanding to become good partners, fathers, and citizens.
The Alma Center is successful. Completion of our Men Ending Violence Program reduces domestic violence recidivism by 86%.