Broadening gender: Why masculinities matter

The study, "Broadening gender: Why masculinities matter – a study on attitudes, practices and gender-based violence in four districts in Sri Lanka" was conducted by CARE International Sri Lanka, under its EMERGE project (Empowering Men to Engage and Redefine Gender Equality) and launched in April 2013. The study was conducted from 2012 to 2013, and was supported by Partners for Prevention. The report explores men’s knowledge, practices and social attitudes towards gender and gender-based violence in four sites across Sri Lanka. The survey provides baseline indicators for CARE programming, as well as a wealth of information on gendered attitudes norms, and practices of women and men that can be applied to enhance gender-based violence prevention, health, youth and empowerment interventions. 

The lead researcher was Professor Neloufer de Mel, Fellow Women, Globalization and Religion Program, Yale University & Professor in English from the Department of English, University of Colombo. Pradeep Peiris, formerly head of Social Indicator, Director-Social Scientists Association, was involved in study design, implementation, data analysis and interpretation. The recommendations chapter was developed by Shyamala Gomez. The field research was conducted by Social Indicator, the research arm of the Center for Policy Alternatives.

Key findings included: 

Fifty-eight percent of men believe that ‘it is manly to defend the honour of your family even by violent means’
Most (57 percent) men and women agreed that ‘to be a man, you need to be tough’
More than two thirds of the female sample, as opposed to 55 percent of men, affirmed that ‘in any rape case, one would have to question whether the victim is promiscuous or has a bad reputation’
One in three ever-partnered men reported that they had committed physical and/or sexual violence against an intimate partner in their lifetime
One in five ever-partnered men reported committing sexual violence against their intimate partner in their lifetime
Forty-one percent of men reported having emotionally abused their partner and 18 percent reported perpetrating economic abuse
Men who had experienced childhood physical, sexual or emotional abuse are 1.7 to 2 times more likely to perpetrate violence against their partners than men who did not experience abuse
Most men admitting perpetration of sexual violence, including rape, stated their first perpetration of the act was when they were 20-29 years of age and 28 percent were between 15 and 19 years of age the first time they did this
Most men who reported perpetration of sexual violence said that they were motivated by sexual entitlement, while alcohol was the least reported motivation
A quarter of men who perpetrated sexual violence, including rape, against women said they experienced no consequences after perpetration

Five consultations that explored the data further were conducted to develop policy and programming recommendation briefs. These will be shared with key stakeholders and disseminated in the districts where the study was conducted. UNDP Sri Lanka has partnered with CARE Sri Lanka to implement this step. The thematic areas, collaborators and facilitators are:

Child protection (including childhood experiences and their impact on violence perpetration) – in collaboration with UNICEF and facilitated by Hiranthi Wijemanne, elected an Expert Member of the Child Rights Monitoring by the UN General Assembly
Exploring women’s attitudes and the impact of gender-based violence on their mental and physical health – facilitated by Nalika Gunawardena, Senior Lecturer in Community Medicine, Faculty of Medicine of University of Colombo and chairperson of Women’s Health Committee of the Sri Lanka Medical Association
Private sector engagement and the role they can play in GBV reduction – facilitated by Maithree Wickremasinghe, Founding Director of the Centre for Gender Studies at the University of Kelaniya
Youth engagement for reduction of SGBV – in collaboration with the Family Planning Association of Sri Lanka and facilitated by Prabu Deepan, a practitioner in the field of youth and development and International Visitors Leadership Program (IVLP) Fellow 2011 on Youth Leadership
Addressing men’s health as a means of primary prevention of GBV – in collaboration with WHO/UNAIDS and facilitated by Dayanath Ranathunga, Country Officer UNAIDS

Download the full report and fact sheets here.

© 2017 Copyright Partners for Prevention