Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Responding to the impact of attitudes and norms on women’s experiences of violence

Responding to the impact of attitudes and norms on women’s  experiences of violence
A continuous effort is needed to empower women to recognize that violence against them is a violation of their rights and to increase gender equality in general. The survey data suggests that beliefs in female subservience, spousal obedience, victim blaming and silence surrounding violence against women continue to persist in the area covered by the survey and that those women who hold these beliefs are more likely to say they have experienced violence. Since other research has shown that these views are also held by men, campaigns on, and responses to, violence against women and girls must take these attitudes and norms into account, they must target society as a whole, and they must also be directed at men and boys.

 Women who agree with statements on female subservience, spousal obedience, victim blaming and silence surrounding violence are more likely to say they have experienced sexual harassment, non-partner physical and/or sexual violence, and intimate partner physical and/or sexual violence. For example:

– Women who agree that domestic violence is a private matter are almost twice as likely to say they have experienced current partner physical violence than those who disagree (18% versus 10% respectively). – Women who think that their friends would agree that it is a wife’s obligation to have sex with her husband even if she does not feel like it are also more likely to say they have experienced violence at the hands of their current partner than those who disagree (with physical violence indicated by 18% of those agreeing and 12% of those disagreeing and sexual violence by 8% and 3% respectively).  – Women who agree that violence is often provoked by the victim or that women exaggerate claims of abuse or rape are generally more likely to say they have experienced all forms of violence.

 Women participating in the qualitative research thought that such attitudes were changing, and findings from the quantitative survey show that younger women think their friends are less likely to adhere to norms of female subservience  and are also less likely to place responsibility for violence on the victim rather than the perpetrator.

Action points 

Participating States 
Overarching efforts are needed to change gender stereotypes, prejudices  and biases, including:
 Mainstream information about gender equality and violence against women and girls in the education system, including by incorporating it into curricula (from kindergarten to university) and by training teachers and other education professionals.
 Implement awareness-raising campaigns for men and women on the importance of gender equality. Interventions should target society as a whole by involving men and boys. They should address, in particular, sexual violence in intimate relationships and sexual harassment. Campaigns and interventions should use the survey data and other evidence to be tailored to different groups in society.
 Improve the co-ordination of both prevention and support efforts (including with international partners), recognizing how they are interconnected, and allocate resources to address the root causes of violence against women.
 Use the data from the OSCE survey to calculate the EIGE Gender Equality Index in order to monitor changes in gender attitudes and behaviour.

OSCE executive structures
 Collect lessons learned and good practices on changing attitudes that condone violence against women and on addressing the root causes, including for specific target groups like legal professionals, police, parliamentarians and policymakers.
 Develop innovative materials for various target groups (with a focus on police and judiciary) to change attitudes of individuals, organizations and society at large.
 Share information and good practices on preventing violence against women  in the OSCE’s main areas of work through seminars, round tables and  peer-to-peer learning.
 Participate in interagency efforts at the national and regional level to promote gender equality and combat violence against women and girls.
 Support gender ethics training for the media with the aim of raising awareness among participating States of the need to address discriminatory and harmful stereotypes through the media.
 Work with education systems to establish curricula on gender equality in schools and universities

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