What are Ordinary Men Willing to Do to End Violence Against Women & Girls?
Most men do not use violence against women, and most believe such violence to be unacceptable. A silent majority of men disapproves of violence, but does little to prevent it. Of most concern, significant numbers of men excuse or justify violence against women. The silence, and encouragement, of male bystanders allows men’s violence against women to continue.
Violence against women and girls is a grave violation of human rights. Its impact ranges from immediate to long-term multiple physical, sexual and mental consequences for women and girls, including death. It negatively affects women’s general well-being and prevents women from fully participating in society. Violence not only has negative consequences for women but also their families, the community and the country at large. When a young woman is thrown against a wall by her boyfriend or husband, when a woman is forced into sex, what is happening is something unfair, something unjust, something that nobody should have to live with? Violence against women runs counter to the basic freedoms, the basic rights that every person should have. Violence against women is a symptom of gender inequalities. But violence against women also makes these inequalities worse. It limits women’s autonomy, their freedom and everyday safety, and their access to the resources required for social and economic wellbeing.
Decades of mobilizing by civil society and women’s movements have put ending gender-based violence high on international agendas. An unprecedented number of countries have laws against domestic violence, sexual assault and other forms of violence. Challenges remain however in implementing these laws, limiting women and girls’ access to safety and justice. Not enough is done to prevent violence, and when it does occur, it often goes unpunished.
We must raise the bar for what it means to be a ‘decent bloke’, a ‘nice guy’. To stop violence against women, well-meaning men must do more than merely avoid perpetrating the grossest forms of physical or sexual violence themselves. Men must strive for equitable and respectful relationships. They must challenge the violence of other men. And they must work to undermine the social and cultural supports for violence against women evident in communities throughout the world – the sexist and violence-supportive norms, the callous behaviors, and the gender inequalities which feed violence against women. To the extent that men stay silent in the face of other men’s violence against women, they are not perpetrators but perpetuators, allowing this violence to continue. Violence against women is a widespread social problem, and a blunt expression of injustice and inequality. Men’s violence against women has identifiable causes, and it can be prevented.
Violence against women and young girls is a widespread social problem.
The term “violence against women” is a useful, catchall term for a range of forms of violence which women experience, including physical and sexual assaults and other behaviors which result in physical, sexual, or psychological harm or suffering to women. The term includes domestic or family violence, rape and sexual assault, sexual harassment, and other forms of violence experienced by women.
The term “men’s violence against women” refers to a subset of this violence, that perpetrated by men. Most ‘violence against women’ is violence by men, although women also experience violence from other women and from children. For example, among all women who experienced physical assaults in the last 12 months, 81 percent were assaulted by males, 8 percent by both males and females, and 27 percent by other females. This report focuses on men’s violence against women, while recognize that violence against women also is committed by women and children.
There are growing efforts to involve boys and men in the prevention of violence against women. The report outlines the rationale for this, It begins with three facts: (1) while most men do not use violence against women, when such violence occurs, it is perpetrated largely by men; (2) ideas and behaviors linked to masculinity or manhood are highly influential in some men’s use of violence against women; and (3) men have a positive and vital role to play in helping to stop violence against women.
Violence against women is a men’s issue. This violence harms the women and girls men love, gives all men a bad name, is perpetrated by men we know, and will only stop when the majority of men step up to help create a culture in which it is unthinkable.
Where then do men stand in relation to violence against women? The report then maps the state of play among men. It focuses on four key dimensions of men’s relations to violence against women: the use of violence, attitudes towards violence, immediate responses when violence occurs, and efforts to prevent violence. Yes, it can often seem agonizingly slow and painful, and there is certainly plenty of overt and covert resistance; however, there is a tremendous wave of liberation moving through our world.
The root cause of woman abuse is the social, economic, and political inequality of women worldwide. For example, women earn less money than men, their work at home is undervalued, and few politicians are women. If society now takes violence against women seriously, it is because women are working hard for this.
I quite remember how some of my friends use to tell me how they were asked to promise their fathers to have a sense of power, pride, confidence, mastery, control, and feel invulnerable.
I now ask myself this question, thus prestige and privilege, power and control, really makes you a man?
Many victims interviewed always has this to say, that they are been carefully scrutinized by their peers and that they do not want to betray any deviance from the prescribed rules for being a man.
They say they do not want to be standing alone feeling shame about their difference. So they prefer denying themselves in order to feel safe and accepted within a dominant culture that demanded them: “Be a man!”
What would it mean now if we were to create a culture in which men join together to reclaim these parts of ourselves that we once hid and denied? If we discovered that, as we peek out from behind our fear, we find the shy and smiling face of another, reflecting our own remembered wholeness.
What would it mean if together we found the courage to stand and face the dominant culture, saying with determination and pride, we do not want to “be a man”? We refuse the rigid box of gender conformity.
What if we created a community where we could feel safe and accepted in the infinite variety of our gender non-conformities? It would mean the end of the system of patriarchy, wherein the promise of power is leveraged by the threat of violence. Homophobia, violence against women, and war-the ultimate weapons of gender conformity-would disappear, no longer needed to prove and protect our “manhood”.
Men would show up in the full rainbow of our expressions. We would inhabit our homes and families, remembering the delights of nurturing relationships. And we would seek out the close, loving companionship of other men and other women. It would mean hope for the world in places where we have long felt only hopelessness.
To what extent are men actively taking part, or being engaged, in efforts to reduce and prevent violence against women? The report documents that:
- Men find it hard to speak about violence against women. On the other hand, at least from US data, most men believe that they can help to end this violence.
- A growing number of men are joining the effort to end violence against women worldwide. We must Campaign represents the most substantial and significant manifestation of men’s involvement in preventing violence against women.
- Men are increasingly the targets of education and other forms of intervention. A range of initiatives engaging men, at various levels of the ‘spectrum of prevention’, are under way around the world.
- Men’s involvement in violence prevention is on the public agenda, receiving endorsement in both state and Federal plans of action regarding violence against women.
- Violence prevention efforts among men do work – if they’re done well. There is a growing evidence base, suggesting that well-designed interventions can shift violence-related attitudes and behaviors.
The report then examines the inspirations for, and barriers to, men’s involvements in violence prevention. First, what prompts men to become involved in this work? Men are ‘sensitized’ to the issue of violence against women through hearing women’s disclosures of violence, their love for and loyalties to particular women, their political and ethical commitments to justice and equality, and related experiences. They receive or find opportunities for involvement in violence prevention work, and give meanings to this involvement that foster greater awareness and commitment. Second, what prevents individual men from taking steps to reduce or prevent men’s violence against women? One obvious barrier is some men’s support for sexist and violence-supportive attitudes and norms, but another, more subtle, barrier is men’s overestimation of other men’s comfort with violence. Men may fear others’ reactions to attempts at intervention; have negative views of violence prevention itself, lack knowledge of or skills in intervention, or lack opportunities or invitations to play a role.
- According to a 2013 global review of available data, 35 percent of women worldwide have experienced either physical and/or sexual intimate partner violence or non-partner sexual violence. However, some national violence studies show that up to 70 percent of women have experienced physical and/or sexual violence in their lifetime from an intimate partner.
- In Australia, Canada, Israel, South Africa and the United States, intimate partner violence accounts for between 40 and 70 percent of female murder victims.
- More than 64 million girls worldwide are child brides, with 46 percent of women aged 20–24 in South Asia and 41 percent in West and Central Africa reporting that they married before the age of 18. Child marriage resulting in early and unwanted pregnancies poses life-threatening risks for adolescent girls; worldwide, pregnancy-related complications are the leading cause of death for 15-to-19-year-old girls.
- Approximately 140 million girls and women in the world have suffered female genital mutilation/cutting.
- Trafficking ensnares millions of women and girls in modern-day slavery. Women and girls represent 55 percent of the estimated 20.9 million victims of forced labor worldwide, and 98 percent of the estimated 4.5 million forced into sexual exploitation.
- Rape has been a rampant tactic in modern wars. Conservative estimates suggest that 20,000 to 50,000 women were raped during the 1992–1995 war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, while approximately 250,000 to 500,000 women and girls were targeted in the 1994 Rwandan genocide.
- Between 40 and 50 percent of women in European Union countries experience unwanted sexual advances, physical contact or other forms of sexual harassment at work.
- In the United States, 83 percent of girls aged 12 to 16 have experienced some form of sexual harassment in public schools
- Violence against women – particularly intimate partner violence and sexual violence against women – are major public health problems and violations of women’s human rights.
- Globally, as many as 38% of murders of women are committed by an intimate partner.
- Violence can result in physical, mental, sexual, reproductive health and other health problems, and may increase vulnerability to HIV.
- Risk factors for being a perpetrator include low education, exposure to child maltreatment or witnessing violence in the family, harmful use of alcohol, attitudes accepting of violence and gender inequality.
- Risk factors for being a victim of intimate partner and sexual violence include low education, witnessing violence between parents, exposure to abuse during childhood and attitudes accepting violence and gender inequality.
- In high-income settings, school-based programs to prevent relationship violence among young people (or dating violence) are supported by some evidence of effectiveness.
- In low-income settings, other primary prevention strategies, such as microfinance combined with gender equality training and community-based initiatives that address gender inequality and communication and relationship skills, hold promise.
- Situations of conflict, post conflict and displacement may exacerbate existing violence and present new forms of violence against women.
Fact #1: Over 22 million women in the United States have been raped in their lifetime.(National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)
Fact #2: 18.3% of women in the United States have survived a completed or attempted rape. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)
Fact #3: Of the 18.3% of women who have survived rape or attempted rape, 12.3% were younger than age 12 when they were first raped, and 29.9% were between the ages of 11 and 17. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)
Fact #4: Every two minutes, somewhere in America, someone is sexually assaulted.(Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) calculation based on 2000 National Crime Victimization Survey. Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Department of Justice)
Fact #5: One out of every five American women has been the victims of an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. (The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)Fact #6: Approximately 1,270,000 women are raped each year. Another 6,646,000 are victims of other sexual crime, including sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, or unwanted sexual experiences. (Department of Justice 2010).
Fact #7: 15% of sexual assault and rape victims are under age 12; 29% are age 12-17; 44% are under age 18; 80% are under age 30; ages 12-34 are the highest risk years. (Department of Justice 2010)
Fact #8: Girls ages 16-19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. (Department of Justice 2010)
Fact #9: Most female victims are raped before the age of 25, and almost half of female victims are under the age of 18. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010). Fact #10: Females ages 12 to 24 are at the greatest risk for experiencing a rape or sexual assault. (Department of Justice 2001).
Fact #11: In 2006, 78,000 children were sexually abused. (Child Maltreatment 2006.) Because majority of cases are not reported, it is estimated that the real number could be anywhere from 260,000-650,000 a year. (Finklehor 2008). Fact #12: Almost two-thirds of all rapes are committed by someone who is known to the victim. 73% of sexual assaults were perpetrated by a non-stranger (— 48% of perpetrators were a friend or acquaintance of the victim, 17% were an intimate and 8% were another relative.) (National Crime Victimization Survey 2010)
Fact #13: 63.84% of women who reported being raped, physically assaulted, and/or stalked since age 18 were victimized by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, boyfriend, or date. (National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey 2010)
Fact #14: Of female rape or sexual assault victims in 2010, 25 percent were assaulted by a stranger, 48 percent by friends or acquaintances, and 17 percent were intimate partners. (National Crime Victimization Survey 2010) Fact #15: Almost 10% of high school students are victims of dating violence each year. (Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance 2009).
Fact #16: According to the Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey (YRBSS), a national survey of high school students, 7.4% of students had been forced to have sexual intercourse when they did not want to. Female students (10.5%) were significantly more likely than male students (4.5%) to have been forced to have sexual intercourse. Overall, black students (12%) were significantly more likely than white students (10%) to have been forced to have sexual intercourse (CDC 2010).
Fact #17: A study reported in the New York Times suggests that one in five adolescent girls become the victims of physical or sexual violence, or both, in a dating relationship. (New York Times 8/01/01)
Fact #18: 93% of juvenile sexual assault victims know their attacker. 34.2% of attackers were family members and 58.7 were acquaintances. (U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics. Sexual Assault of Young Children as Reported to Law Enforcement 2000.)
Fact #19: The National College Women Sexual Victimization Study estimated that between 1 in 4 and 1 in 5 college women experience completed or attempted rape during their college years (Fisher 2000).
Fact #20: Somewhere in America a woman is battered, usually by her intimate partner, every 15 seconds. (UN Study On The Status of Women, Year 2000)
Fact #21: About one-third of female murder victims ages 12 or older are killed by an intimate partner. (Department of Justice 2007)
Fact #22: A University of Pennsylvania research study found that domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to low-income, inner-city Philadelphia women between the ages of 15 to 44 – more common than automobile accidents, mugging and rapes combined. In this study domestic violence included injuries caused by street crime.
Fact #23: The FBI estimates that only 46% of rapes and sexual assaults are reported to the police. U.S. Justice Department statistics are even lower, with only 26% of all rapes or attempted rapes being reported to law enforcement officials.
Fact #24: Less than half of domestic violence incidents are reported to police. African-American women are more likely than others to report their victimization to police Lawrence A. Greenfeld et al. (1998). (Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends. Bureau of Justice Statistics Factbook. Washington DC: U.S. Department of Justice. NCJ #167237. Available from National Criminal Justice Reference Service.)
Fact #25: Sexual violence and gender based violence is associated with a host of short- and long-term problems, including physical injury and illness, psychological symptoms, economic costs, and death (Lifetime Prevalence of Gender-Based Violence in Women and the Relationship with Mental Disorders and Psychosocial Function, Journal of American Medical Association 2011).
Fact #26: Rape victims often experience anxiety, guilt, nervousness, phobias, substance abuse, sleep disturbances, depression, alienation, sexual dysfunction, and aggression. They often distrust others and replay the assault in their minds, and they are at increased risk of future victimization (DeLahunta 1997).
Fact #27: Victims of sexual assault are 3 times more likely to suffer from depression, 6 times more likley to suffer from post-traumatic stress disorder, 14 times more likely to abuse alcohol, 26 times more likely to abuse drugs, and 4 times more likely to contemplate suicide. (World Health Organization 2003)
Fact #28: Sexual violence victims exhibit a variety of psychological symptoms that are similar to those of victims of other types of trauma, such as war and natural disaster (National Research Council 1996). A number of long-lasting symptoms and illnesses have been associated with sexual victimization including chronic pelvic pain; premenstrual syndrome; gastrointestinal disorders; and a variety of chronic pain disorders, including headache, back pain, and facial pain (Koss 1992).Between 4% and 30% of rape victims contract sexually transmitted diseases as a result of the victimization (Resnick 1997).
Fact #29: The costs of intimate partner violence against women exceed an estimated $5.8 billion. These costs include nearly $4.1 billion in the direct costs of medical care and mental health care and nearly $1.8 billion in the indirect costs of lost productivity and present value of lifetime earnings. (Costs of Intimate Partner Violence Against Women in the United States, Department of Health and Human Services, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, Atlanta, Georgia, March 2003).
Fact #30: It is estimated that domestic violence occurs in approximately 25-33% of same-sex relationships. (NYC Gay and Lesbian Anti-Violence Project, October 1996.)However, other studies have indicated that anywhere between 17% and 52% of same-sex relationships are abusive. (Relationship Violence in Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer Communities 2005).
Fact #31: About 67.9% of rape victims are white; 11.9% are black; 14% are hispanic and 6% are of other races. (National Crime Victimization Survey, Department of Justice 2010).
Fact #32: About half of all rape victims are in the lowest third of income distribution; half are in the upper two-thirds. (Violence against Women, Bureau of Justice Statistics, U.S. Dept. of Justice, 1994.)
Fact #33: An estimated 17,500 women and children are trafficked into the United States annually for sexual exploitation or forced labor. (U.S. Department of State Trafficking in Persons Report 2012).
Fact #34: Offenders have been reported to be armed with a gun, knife or other weapon in 11 percent of rape or sexual assault victimizations. (Criminal Victimization, Bureau of Justice, 2010)
Fact #35: Factoring in unreported rapes, about 6% of rapists will ever spend a day in jail. 15 out of 16 will walk free. (Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) calculation based on US Department of Justice 2010 Statistics)
Fact #36: Boys who witness their fathers’ violence are 10 times more likely to engage in spouse abuse in later adulthood than boys from non-violent homes. (Family Violence Interventions for the Justice System, 1993)
Men’s use of violence against women
How many men use violence against women? Data is very limited, and is focused on individuals’ use of various aggressive behaviors against partners or ex-partners. Still, it does indicate that most men do not practice violence against women at least in its bluntest forms.
What do men know and think about violence against women? This report documents that:
- Most men do not tolerate violence against women, although:
- A significant minority do hold violence-supportive attitudes;
- Men’s attitudes are worse than women’s;
- Men with more conservative attitudes towards gender have worse attitudes towards violence against women – they are more likely to condone, excuse, or justify this violence than other men.
- Overall, men’s attitudes towards violence against women are becoming less violence supportive.
What do men do when violence against women occurs? Most men say that they are willing to intervene in situations of domestic violence. Similarly, most boys say that, faced with a situation in which a boy was sexually coercing a girl, they would support the girl. At the same time, men’s interventions may not be helpful, while some boys will support the coercive boy instead.
Men can play vital roles in helping to reduce and prevent men’s violence against women. Indeed, some men, both individually and in groups and often in partnership with women, are already making a difference. Preventing men’s violence against women will require sustained and systematic efforts in families and relationships, communities, and in society at large.
We should engage men in the conversation and use of technology. We can be helpful in challenging cultural norms and can be powerful allies in preventing girls from being abducted and sold into prostitution. Technology has the power to change lives and the best thing about it is it doesn’t cost anything. Free journalism “i.e. World Pulse”, any social media, online blog, cell phone, or a simple text message could mean the difference between oppression and empowerment for women and young girls around the world. We must bring awareness and we must come forward, we must Intestine for men to join with women in building a world of non-violence and gender justice.
We have to begin our civil rights quest in ERNEST—not by a quiet discussion in the corner, not by being the last topic of an agenda. “Justice and Equality DELAYED is Justice and Equality DENIED”.
The mission is critical; the task is challenging and lonely. There is NO ONE ELSE to turn to or give the task to. We are it. Our quest is noble, our challenge is enormous, our mission is sacred and we must not fail.
We’ve got our work cut out for us (Men), but if we bond together and work hard every single day to get women and young girls the care and justice they need, I know that we will have a brighter future not just for women and young girls but also for entire family, communities, countries and the world will be better place for all of us.
Education is the best way to end the cycle of Poverty and exploitation of children’s. We must educate ourselves and others around us. “I will Continue to Study, till there is Nothing More to Learn.”