Understanding the masculinities, gender norms and intimate partner violence affecting the female sex workers of northern Karnataka

Masculinities, norms, IPV re FSWs.pdf

Existing norms – male dominance, infidelity, violence as a legitimate form of discipline – increase sex workers’ risk of contracting HIV while in intimate relationships.

This qualitative inquiry with the intimate partners of female sex workers aims to:

  • provide evidence of the impact of norms around masculinity, gender and violence on the dynamics of intimate partner violence (IPV) among female sex workers
  • understand from the perspective of intimate partners how cultural norms concerning manhood are constructed and reproduced
  • determine the causes and effects of IPV in female sex workers' intimate relationships

The findings contribute to the growing body of empirical knowledge on IPV in the context of sex work. The learning informs the on-going interventions that KHPT is implementing with local community-based organisations in northern Karnataka.

The report recommends that interventions targeting IPV attempt to:

  • change prevailing patriarchal attitudes by redefining concepts of masculinity
  • create collectives/fora to discuss relationship challenges
  • promote awareness of why and how violence against women should be eliminated
  • involve leaders and role models in speaking out against IPV
  • increase awareness and disapproval of domestic violence
  • build networks that help people recognise and challenge the structural disparities that result in violence

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