Joe Colucci of Dallas admits he was arrogant; egotistical; controlling; unwilling to deal with emotions; and abusive. The 52-year-old divorced father of two tells the Dallas Morning News he's not that man any more. Colucci speaks out about domestic violence, not only during October, National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, but all year, from the rare perspective of a former abuser. “The message I want to put out there?” he asks. “Men can certainly change. Is it common? I don't think so. Is it possible? Absolutely. I'm sitting here as an example of that.”
Colucci says he changed after twice going through a Batterer Intervention and Prevention Program (BIPP). Treatment for batterers began in the 1970s. An estimated 1,500 to 2,500 BIPP classes are held across the U.S., says a 2009 report by the Family Violence Prevention Fund and the National Institute of Justice. Most clients are ordered to attend by a judge. Colucci enrolled at the request of his then-fiancée. Experts are divided on whether BIPP works because success is difficult to define and data hard to come by. Colucci says while BIPP alone can't solve the problem of domestic violence, it provides a good starting point if someone wants to stop being abusive.