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ICRW Says to Stop Violence against Women, Aim National Policies at Men
Date:4/14/2010

ICRW Gender Expert Gary Barker to Testify on U.S. Capitol Hill

Washington, DC (Vocus) April 14, 2010 -- Global research shows that one in three women are expected to experience physical or sexual violence from a man at least once in their lifetime. What can we do to end this violence? One key strategy is to involve men and boys in prevention efforts and to design public policies, and evidence-based programs that seek to change societal beliefs about manhood, said Gary Barker, director of gender, violence and rights at International Center for Research on Women (ICRW). Barker will testify on the topic before the U.S. House of Representatives Human Rights Commission at 2 p.m. Thursday, April 15.

Evidence shows that enacting and enforcing laws against violence alone, while important, is insufficient. Legal sanctions must be coupled with efforts to address underlying societal expectations about what it means to be men and women, Barker said. Preliminary findings from an ongoing multi-country survey of men’s attitudes and behaviors conducted in part by ICRW speak to that notion. Results reveal that a significant number of men – a majority in some countries – believe that being violent towards women is acceptable and that there are times “when a woman deserves to be beaten.” This research has found that men’s use of violence against women is more likely if they experienced violence themselves while growing up, are under economic stress, hold beliefs in rigid norms about manhood and abuse alcohol.

“Prevailing male attitudes such as beliefs that women deserve to be beaten can be tackled through changing what, in many societies, is considered normal about being a man,” said Barker.

He added that the most effective violence prevention programs are those that seek to change traditional ideas about the roles of men and women and that
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