Masculinity, son preference and intimate partner violence

Priya Nanda, Abhishek Gautam, Ravi Verma, Sanjay Kumar and Dhanashri Brahme International Centre for Research on Women, 2013; A study conducted by ICRW in partnership with UNFPA Masculinity, son preference & intimate partner violence

A new report defines violence as "emotional such as insults, intimidation and threats, or physical and sexual such as pushing, punching and rape. It also includes economic abuse in which a man did not permit his wife or partner to work or took her earnings against her will."

The study, by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), polled 9,205 men and 3,128 women across the Indian states of Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan, Punjab, Haryana, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. 


Key points

  1. Six out of ten Indian men admit to having perpetrated violence against their wives or partners. Men who experienced discrimination as children or faced financial stresses were more likely to be abusive.
  2. Men who had experienced discrimination as children were four times more likely to be violent towards their partners.
  3. Physical abuse - such as being kicked, slapped, choked and burned - was the most commonly reported, with 38% of women saying they had faced such abuse. The next most common forms were emotional, sexual and economic violence. 
  4. Fewer women reported being victims than the number of men who reported being violent. The reason was a feeling of shame or fear of social stigma, according to the report. Women may have believed that such acts are 'normal' in a relationship and thus may have expected men to exert control over them. 
  5. Women who were discriminated against as children were three to six times more likely to experience violence from partners.

Newspaper articles on the report:

The report shows that the violent behaviour of men against women finds common expression beyond regional and cultural differences.

Balasubramanya, Karnataka Health Promotion Trust


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