In some countries, up to 70 percent of women are exposed to physical and / or sexual violence from an intimate partner at some point. Photo: Unsplash

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Men in focus when violence against women is to be combated

One in three women in the world is ever exposed to gender-based violence, according to statistics from the World Bank. Due to isolation during the corona pandemic, there are many indications that men's violence against women is now increasing. According to the organization Make Equal, we must focus on the perpetrators in order for the violence to decrease.

- Young boys learn to use violence in different ways, and the violence follows up to adulthood. Violence is seen as a natural part of their development, says Johan Petterson at Make Equal. 

Johan Petterson is an equality consultant at the Swedish fundraising foundation Make Equal, which works for gender equality. He is a political and gender scientist and has extensive knowledge of issues related to power, masculinity and violence. 

Johan Pettersson believes that one of the biggest reasons why men use significantly more violence than women is precisely how boys learn to use violence early. And since it is seen as a natural part of their development, violence is not problematized for them.

According to statistics from the World Bank one in three women in the world is exposed to gender-based violence during their lifetime. In some countries it is up to 70 percent of women who have ever been subjected to physical and / or sexual violence by an intimate partner. 

Men's violence against women has attracted attention in many places in recent years. The latest reporting if an increase in violence comes from China. The increase in the number of cases in China is due to the fact that many have been isolated in the home due to the coronavirus. The pandemic has had a major impact on violence in close relationships. Wai Fai, who is the founder of an organization that works against violence in close relationships, believes that 90 percent of the reported cases are corona-related. Now women's organizations in Europe are also sounding the alarm because the coronavirus has spread to Europe. Many European countries, like China, have taken measures to restrict people's freedom of movement and urged citizens to stay at home to reduce the spread of infection.

But even before the corona crisis, violence against women has received more attention than before. One example is the MeToo call in 2017, when women around the world testified about sexual harassment. Another example is a movement that was started in Chile in 2019 by the collective La Tesis. They sang the protest song "a rapist in your path" which spread like wildfire around the world, including to Spain and to the parliament in Turkey. 

Men commit a large majority of violent crimes

Men commit 79 percent of all assault crimes and 97 percent of all sexual crimes in Sweden. Guys who are negative about gender equality and have stereotypical notions of gender roles are three times more likely to commit violent acts, according to statistics from the organization MEN.

MEN is a non-profit, feminist organization that works to change destructive norms around masculinity. According to them, there is norms and expectations of how men and boys should be. These norms of masculinity are often destructive because they limit and harm men and people around them in various ways. For example, it may be that men are not allowed to prove vulnerable or that it is considered "masculine" to use violence. There has been a lot of focus on dealing with the consequences of violence, but it is not enough. It is therefore important to work to prevent violence in order to prevent more people from falling victim to men's violence, means the organization

Johan Pettersson at Make Equal agrees. He thinks it is important to involve men in conversations about destructive masculinity norms and to work with self-insight and self-reflection. Make Equal works a lot to organize just such meetings, including through boy dinners.

- The purpose of the conversations is to emphasize that men have a responsibility to change destructive behaviors and actions, he says.

Men's violence against women

Men's violence against women is today recognized as a violation of human rights, a global societal problem and a serious public health problem. It exists in all cultures in all walks of life. Violence takes different forms. It can be psychological, physical, sexual, material or financial violence. The purpose of violence is to control and exercise power over the victim.

Source: National Center for Women's Peace

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