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Study shows the effectiveness of '12 Men Model' to prevent domestic and sexual violence

Vera House
George Kilpatrick (left), program coordinator of Vera House's 12 Men Model, holds a proclamation marking the 10th anniversary of the program. At center is Onondaga County Executive Ryan McMahon and Syracuse Mayor Ben Walsh

It’s been a decade since the 12 Men Model was developed through Vera House in Syracuse to use men as allies in preventing domestic and sexual violence. An analysis by the Worker Institute at Cornell University shows the program can grow.

The study shows that nearly 90% of the men involved in the program have applied strategies they learned in their own life, and almost half have been able to intervene in a non-aggressive way when they come across abusive language or domestic violence.

George Kilpatrick, program coordinator of the 12 Men Model, said that awareness of how every day actions can contribute to violence is important, and being an active bystander is key.

“It could be as simple as, if you see two people arguing, you might even ask someone what time it is," said Kilpatrick. "We’re talking about indirect ways, there's direct ways. There’s also calling somebody who can do something about it. So it’s not that you always have to physically intervene, but there’s always something you can do."

Todd Eudell, a former 12 Men Model participant, works with teens, and said just opening them up to the 12 Men idea is very important.

"The tree is in the seed. So it’s the awareness," said Eudell. "And if we can get this message spread at a young age, maybe we can cut down some of the abuse and violence.”

The study also shows there’s room for growth.

"The goal, yeah, is to not only grow it here in this community, but to see this program, created and originated right here at Vera House in Syracuse, new York and Onondaga County, be a model that could be talked about nationally," said Kilpatrick.

Ellen produces news reports and features related to events that occur in the greater Syracuse area and throughout Onondaga County. Her reports are heard regularly in regional updates in Morning Edition and All Things Considered.