How do masculinities relate to men’s perceptions and perpetrations of violence against women? What do these gendered norms, identities and practices mean for violence prevention?
From 2010 to 2013, over 10,000 men and women across Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Sri Lanka and Papua New Guinea were interviewed using the UN Multi-country Study on Men and Violence household survey to help answer these questions. The study derives from the Partners for Prevention (P4P) initiative, and focused on intimate partner violence and non-partner rape. The regional analysis found that between 26 and 80 percent of men reported using physical and/or sexual violence against a female partner. The research shows that sexual and gender-based violence is not caused by individual men’s beliefs and practices alone, but are situated within wider societal contexts characterised by gender inequalities and power imbalances between men and women, which women also play a role in maintaining.
Work to prevent violence against women must reflect this by working at the individual, relationship, community and greater society levels. Recommendations on how the data supports violence prevention initiatives are as follows:
- Change social norms related to the acceptability of violence and the subordination of women;
- Promote non-violence masculinities oriented towards equality and respect;
- Address child abuse and promote healthy families and nurturing, violence-free environments for children;
- Work with young boys to address early ages of sexual violence perpetration;
- Promote healthy sexuality for men and address male sexual entitlement;
- End impunity for men who rape;
- Develop interventions that respond to specific patterns of violence in each context.