The proportion of women who have reported experiencing physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner in their lifetime ranges from 15 percent in Japan and Laos, to 68 percent in Kiribati and Papua New Guinea, according to a United Nations Population Fund regional snapshot.

Ten years ago, Partners for Prevention sought to research root causes of violence against women in several countries in Asia and the Pacific. The Partners for Prevention program worked from the ground up by first understanding social norms, then engaging communities and community facilitators in participatory group approaches to reflect on harmful norms and gender stereotypes, a process that looked different in every country.

Devex caught up with Anik Gevers, research consultant for Partners for Prevention, and below is an excerpt of the interview:

Earlier, you mentioned the goal of the project was not just to create a “nicer patriarch” in these communities. How did the engagement with men and young males in Partners for Prevention guard against that?

I think it comes down to making sure that the interventions are promoting critical thinking. It is key that your facilitators are sufficiently far along in their transformations to be able to do that for others.

Several project stakeholders mentioned that the difficulty remains in “selling” the idea of prevention of violence — especially since ideally it would then be something you don’t see at all. How do you sell prevention to the more skeptical stakeholders?

I think we need to define as a prevention field what it is we’re moving toward and hoping to achieve rather than what we are moving away from. And so that forward-looking part, and having many more nuanced indicators at the community level of gender equality manifesting in different ways, will be an important part of the conversation.

Read the entire interview about violence prevention work by Kelli Rogers at Devex.