Masculinity and Gender: Interventions to End Gender-Based Violence

Masculinity and Gender: Interventions to End Gender-Based Violence

Jeffrey Kurebwa (Bindura University of Science Education, Zimbabwe)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/IJPAE.2021010104
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The purpose of this study is to provide interventions to end gender-based violence (GBV). Most of the GBV interventions that have been used are mainly reactive and focused on survivors of GBV. It therefore argues that there is a need to also focus on masculinity-focused interventions as an alternative to the traditional GBV interventions in order to reduce GBV cases. The study firstly provides definitions of GBV and masculinity. Secondly, it provides a critique of the various types of masculinity. Thirdly, it focuses on traditional GBV interventions, and masculinity-focused interventions.
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A number of GBV interventions have been provided by the United Nations (UN), governments, and Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs). These interventions have been criticised as being ineffective, reactive and only focusing on survivors and victims of GBV without paying attention to the perpetrators who in most cases are men. The study argues that masculinities-focused interventions have a number of positive effects. Masculinities have an impact on GBV. There is a link between GBV and the traditional and conservative norms about the position of women in society. Saffitz (2010, p. 85) argues that ‘GBV is more prevalent in societies with rigid gender roles or in patriarchal communities in which male dominance is engrained in a masculine identity’. Cock (1991, p. 129) also states that ‘tradition is often invoked to justify gender inequality’. This scenario is very true in societies where there is a belief that domestic violence is a ‘private affair’ (Usdin, Scheepers, Goldstein & Japhet, 2005, p.2435). There are various norms which contribute to the acceptance of GBV. These include thinking that a man is the authority in a household, that a husband ‘owns’ his wife, or that a woman is not able to refuse to have sex with a man who provides for her financially. These norms provide ‘justifications’ for the use of violence (Heise, Ellsberg & Gottmoeller, 2002). In order to decrease and eventually end GBV a paradigm shift is needed. This entails a focus on the root causes of violence founded in gender-based power inequalities and gender-based discrimination.

Gender is defined as the expectations and norms about how men and women should behave and interact with others in a given society (Barker, Contreras, Heilman, Singh, Verma & Nascimento, 2011). It is the socially constructed aspect of a person’s identity which can be learned, taught, and reinforced by society. While individuals have a significant amount of agency in choosing how to perform their gender, the circumstances, context, and society in which they live will heavily impact on this agency (Butler, 1988).

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