Think how differently things might have turned out for the Colombian characters in late author Gabriel García Márquez’s 1981 novella Chronicle of a Death Foretold had they had access to the Calm Line, a phone number men in Bogotá, Colombia, can call if they need help controlling their anger and jealousy.
The New York Times has labeled it “Colombia’s Antimachismo Hotline.” An average of 12 men per day, from all walks of life, call the Calm Line when they are afraid their rage will quickly spiral into a physical altercation. The hotline was set up to deter violence against women by addressing what many consider the root cause of this type of behavior: machismo.
The Calm Line has only been operating since early September, but Nicolás Montero, who started the program as the head of Bogotá’s culture office under the direction of mayor Claudia López, seems very optimistic about the program.
Montero told the Times, “Imagine a headline in this society in 20 years: ‘Machismo has been eradicated from the national geography.”
The Calm Line will cost Bogotá approximately $300,000 a year, according to the Times. When men call in to talk, a team of psychologists manage the phone calls as they come in.
“The first thing I have to tell you is that you can’t control this,” said Calm Line psychologist Juan Francisco Valencia while on the phone with a caller who needed perspective. “In the end, this was her decision. What you can do in this case is think about how you’re going to handle it.”