Participating in ‘talk story’ sessions over the course of several months may be an effective way to raise awareness about intimate partner violence, according to new research from UH Manoa.

A study of 100 Leeward Coast residents who participated in talk story sessions over six months showed the participants increased their awareness, knowledge and confidence to address intimate partner violence. Participants also showed signs of a lower tolerance for how “acceptable” they found intimate partner violence to be.

The researchers designed the talk story sessions to promote informal, laid-back conversations where participants could share their thoughts and listen to other people in ways that were comfortable and in line with their cultural values.

Over the course of five sessions, trained facilitators led small group discussions on various topics, including perceptions of what actions may be defined as intimate partner violence, what steps individuals or communities can take to prevent intimate partner violence or stop it once it has begun and what resources are available in the community for people who need help.

The talk story sessions included both men and women because the participants said they believed that including both genders would help to more fully engage the community. Research has shown that mixed gender groups are more likely to promote non-violent social norms, according to the study.

During the six month period over which the sessions were held, at least five women sought help or left unsafe situations.

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