First national survey results for The Change Project launched – Bangladesh study reveals that men who experience violence as a child are at least twice as likely to perpetrate violence against women

The Change Project – an Asia-Pacific regional collaborative research project for violence prevention coordinated by P4P – supported the launch of national quantitative data in Bangladesh. Bangladesh is the first of six countries to release the quantitative results. The research found that men who have been abused as a child are at least two times more likely to use violence against women later on in life. The survey, implemented by icddr,b, UNFPA and Partners for Prevention, is the first of its kind in Bangladesh. The research approach of interviewing men has provided cutting-edge knowledge on social norms, men’s attitudes and behaviours regarding gender and violence. The study reconfirmed that a high proportion of men use violence against women, with 52% of men reporting using physical violence against an intimate partner, and 10% of urban and 15% of rural men reporting rape of an intimate partner. However, men also experience high levels of violence as children, with an astounding 22-37% of men reporting experiencing sexual abuse as a child and 16-21% reporting physical abuse. “We need to break this cycle of violence, we need to ensure that all our children have the chance to live in a peaceful home and the chance to grow into confident, happy, positive and peaceful adults with a very real opportunity to contribute to the social, economic and cultural fabric of their home and their country,” said Dr. Ruchira Tabassum Naved, Principal Investigator from icddr,b. Dominant notions of masculinity in Bangladesh are linked to toughness, honour, sexual prowess and control over women – for example 93-98% of men agreed that to be a man, one needs to be tough. The survey further found that men with gender inequitable attitudes are significantly more likely to perpetrate physical and sexual violence against female intimate partners. “We need to nurture more gender equitable young men – through our individual actions, through positive male role models, through effective policies and education programmes and we need to do this from a young age, and we need to start now,” said Mr. Arthur Erken, Representative of UNFPA Bangladesh. While there is no single quick fix to this complicated and widespread problem, some additional key findings point us in the direction of how to stop violence before it starts: • Among the men who had committed rape, approximately 80% had been motivated by sexual entitlement and only 5-12% experienced any legal consequences of their actions. • Men with secondary and higher education are half as likely to perpetrate physical/sexual violence against an intimate partner. Even some secondary education has a similar effect in the rural area. • Men with high work-related stress are twice as likely to perpetrate partner violence in the urban area. • Dowry demand in marriage increases the likelihood of violence perpetration by three times in the rural area. • Men who had transactional sex were two times more likely in the urban area and three times in the rural area to perpetrate partner violence. The findings show that creating more gender equitable attitudes reduces the risk of violence perpetration. Education of boys, along with girls, has an important role to play. The empowerment of women is vital, as is changing social norms and notions of masculinity associated with power and dominance. Changing ideologies of male sexual entitlement as well as impunity for perpetration is key. Protecting children from abuse to end the cycle of violence must also be a focus, as is reaching out to men so that they can become partners in social justice work. For more information, contact emma.fulu@one.un.org Notes to editors: • For the launch press release, New study reveals that men with negative attitudes towards women are more likely to use violence, see: http://www.partners4prevention.org/sites/default/files/documents/the_change_project___bangladesh___launch.pdf • For the full study, Men’s Attitudes and Practices regarding Gender and Violence against Women in Bangladesh, see: www.partners4prevention.org/sites/default/files/documents/final_report_0.pdf • For fact sheets related to this study - -Men’s Attitudes on Gender Equality in Bangladesh -Perpetration of Violence against Women by Intimate Partners in Bangladesh -Recommendations for the Prevention of Violence against Women in Bangladesh - see: www.partners4prevention.org/sites/default/files/documents/bangladesh_report_fact_sheets_0.pdf • Data for this survey were collected in 2011 and included 1254 men in an urban site and 1146 men in a rural site in Bangladesh. • The study was conducted by icddr,b as part of ‘The Change Project: Understanding gender, masculinities and power to prevent gender-based violence’, coordinated by Partners for Prevention: Working to Prevent Gender-based Violence, a UNDP, UNFPA, UN Women and UNV regional programme for Asia and the Pacific. The study was funded by UNFPA.

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