The UWE provides a network for partnering across borders. Earlier a Mentoring Project was undertaken using Life Long Learning Funds of the EU to develop a mentoring handbook. Currently a project called “Domestic Violence Met by Educated Women” is undertaken by six NFA’s coordinated by Finland. Other NFA’s are invited to join but will not be able to use funds of the Grundtvig Program.
The Project “Domestic Violence Met by Educated Women” of the GRUNDTVIG Learning Partnerships is a Programme of the European Commission. Information can be found on the Lifelong Learning Programme website: http://ec.europa.eu/education/llp/doc848_en.htm.
The European DVMEW-Partners
The Grundtvig partners live in Finland (Helsinki, project-coordinator), Germany (Kiel, Pa-derborn), Romania (Bucharest), Slovenia (Ljubljana), Sweden (Stockholm). The partners are:
Suomen akateemisten naisten liitto – Finlands Kvinnliga Akademikers Forbund ry (FI).
Kyrklunds‘ Consulting International / KCl (SE).
Deutscher Akademikerinnenbund e.V. (D).
ASOCIATIA FEMEILOR UNIVERSITÄRE (RO).
Zdruzenje univerzitetnih izobrazenk Slovenije (Sl).
Zentrum für Konstruktive Erziehungswissenschaft am Institut für Pädagogik der Universität Kiel / ZKE (D).
We expect a seventh partner in Bulgaria (Sofia). Motivation
There are different motivations in different countries. In Finland, for instance, a couple of very sad and terrifying cases of domestic violence occurred in academic families last year. In one of the cases a highly educated husband killed his academic wife and their small children and himself. It was and still is a mystery. How such things can happen?
International motivation of the project: As IFUW (International Federation of University Women) starts the 31st IFUW Triennial Conference in Istanbul, Turkey – 16 to 21 August 2013 about “Women’s role in achieving a sustainable future: Education, urbanization, vio-lence and human rights” , one of the themes of the workshop will be “The culture of violence against women as a threat to sustainability”. The project DVMEW concerns the same themes for Europe and in particular from the view-point of UWE (“University Women Organizations of Europe”), ZKE (“Zentrum für Kon-struktive Erziehungswissenschaft”, Germany) and KCI (“Kyrklunds’ Consulting Internation-al”, Sweden).
From the national organizations point of view it is important to learn more about this phenomenon in order to be able to inform and instruct the members of the organizations of uni-versity women. It will have a great impact on other groups of women, if domestic violence is discussed openly, if it is effectively prevented or even totally deleted from academic homes in the future.
The ZKE is an interdisciplinary research group with a tradition of forty years. The group is part of the Institute for Education of the University of Kiel. Scientists, graduates and students from the areas of educational science, psychology, philosophy, sociology, physics and theo-retical cardiology belong to the team. The aim of the research group is the development and testing of educational theories and methods on a methodical-constructive basis. The ZKE will perform an empirical survey. The team seeks to answer three questions. The first question is: How can domestic violence be categorized? The categories will be analyzed dependent on 1. the social class, 2. sex, 3. the age, 4. the duration of the partnership, 5. the European country involved in the study, 6. selected problems. The second question is: Are there differences in what is understood as domestic violence in the EU countries? The ZKE-term of violence is chosen as reference point to answer this question. On this basis the ZKE-team will analyze 1. whether there are significant differences in the expressions of domestic violence, 2. how vio-lence fighting people handle these differences.
The data for the study will be collected in the participating countries. Due to limited re-sources, the survey will be conducted in available groups with small numbers of people. This method limits the generalizability of the results. For the surveys a questionnaire is used. A questionnaire does not answer the questions about the causes of domestic violence and about the success of interventions. For this purpose experiments have to be carried out. Overall, the study has the character of a pilot-study. It serves to formulate hypotheses. These hypotheses can be compared with the results obtained in the other approaches of the project.
How can the results be used? The answer depends on the ZKE-term of violence. The term reads as follows: “An action is predicated as violent, if the acting partner (the proponent) tries to assert his interest against an opponent, without wanting to justify this interest towards the opponent, although a justification of the action is provided on the basis of a normative sys-tem”. During a period of fifteen years this term had been the basis for successfully teaching handicapped boarding-school pupils how to avoid or to prevent or to reduce violence. In the DVMEW-study the questionnaire is expected to give hints how to avoid or to prevent or to reduce domestic violence on the same theoretical basis, but in the area of university women.
All Project Partners
The project partners try to answer the following questions: Are there differences in what is understood as domestic violence in the EU countries? From these differences which will be established through analysis we will formulate more reliable recommendations, how to avoid or to prevent or to reduce domestic violence.
Added European value consists of best practices that we learn from project partners and of European cultural and social diversity that we encounter during the project period and that enriches our knowledge of the vital aspects of domestic violence in different countries. The national view to this global problematic is too narrow, in times of strong immigration in par-ticular.
From the working process we will gain awareness of intercultural differences and we will gain new experiences how to handle these. We shall also learn from best practices carried out in different countries. We understand that this is a European and world wide problem and thus we sit all in the same boat.
As pupils, learners, trainers and staff we learn this sad phenomenon better and understand the importance of people and organizations fighting against it, providing shelter homes and aim-ing at changes in legislation in order to strengthen the equality between the sexes and save women and children from consequences of domestic violence. Our organizations work for academic women in particular. After this project we shall have new insights into the special problems of educated women (members of our organizations) and better possibilities to sup-port the victims. The organizations of University women will be more familiar with other na-tional organizations that work to prevent domestic violence and support the victims. This will facilitate good cooperation. The national and international networks will be strengthened. The strong European networks have more power than individual organizations to demand and im-plement changes.
We try to achieve the following objectives in particular: 1. To give an overall picture of the problem of domestic violence met by educated women in different European countries by approaching the problem from the perspective of different academic disciplines. 2. To bring together people from different countries, at different ages and with different cultural back-ground and with varying academic education to reflect and discuss the topic together.
Following subjects will be addressed: 1. What are the first signs of the domestic violence met be educated women, 2. what kinds of coping and survival mechanisms do the victims have, and 3. what is the role of education of the wife and husband in cases of domestic violence?
Our approach to achieve our objectives is as follows: Relevant data shall be collected using different sources, such as legislation, and personal informants (police, medical doctors, psy-chologists, social workers, shelter home staff, etc.). We will conduct additional background interviews with experts from governmental and non-governmental organizations which fight against domestic violence. In addition to gathering data, we are going to conduct a small sur-vey with a questionnaire developed by ZKE (Partner no 2). The questionnaire can be an-swered anonymously and electrically. The informant can leave her contacts in the case she is willing to participate anonymously in a face to face interview. The study will pay attention to possible sensitive and ethical issues and follow the ethical rules by the American Sociological Association. We discuss common problems and preliminary results and evaluate the progress of the project in project meetings and international conferences.
The tasks are divided in such a way that every participating institution works with the same basic concept. They participate in the survey launched by partner no 2. They develop and re-fine the questionnaire to their purposes. Every partner also collects data for DVMEW from available sources, statistics and from staff of NGO organizations and social sector and health care, possibly also from open discussion groups in the internet, newspapers and magazines. Thirdly, every partner arranges an international meeting where project partners meet each other and discuss the problems and the progress of the project. In these conferences the spe-cial issues and phenomena of the host country are also presented and reflected. All the time we change experiences and learn from one another and study the best practices in different countries.
Expected Results The project will raise the domestic violence met by educated women on the European agenda. According to their own points of view the project partners will ask different questions, launch questionnaires and make small surveys in different countries, analyze the results and collect data about domestic violence. They organize six international and several national confer-ences on the topic. The final report is intended to put the spotlight on common results pro-moted by all partners. The project aims at producing new knowledge of this sad phenomenon and at disseminating best practices from country to country to prevent it. The project will be successful if an EU wide understanding is found to answer to domestic violence. The project concentrates on the educated women and their children as victims of domestic violence be-cause all the members of the learning partnership are educated persons. It is easier to begin with the closest violence concerning themselves and their colleagues.
This paper is an extract from the project-application February 2013.