Gender-based violence: A qualitative exploration of norms, experiences and positive deviance

Abstract

Research was conducted in the Patna district of Bihar to better understand the context of violence - physical, emotional and sexual - against women and girls, and notably, the prevailing norms about what constitutes acceptable violence in terms of severity and provocation, and gender norms about men’s entitlement and women’s acquiescence to violence.

The study had 3 components:

  • focus group discussions (FGD) with unmarried youth aged 15–24, and married women and men aged 15–50
  • a short survey of (a) all the female FGD participants, to help identify husbands who perpetrated marital violence and obtain their consent for contacting their husbands, and (b) available husbands from among those contacted
  • in-depth interviews with selected husbands identified by the married female FGD participants as violent and nonviolent

This report is divided into ten chapters, including the introductory chapter. Chapter 2 sets the stage, highlighting the gender norms prevailing in the study settings from the perspectives of unmarried and married study participants. Chapter 3 focuses on norms relating to violence against women and girls in particular: it explores how study participants define violence against women and girls and their perceptions of the limits of acceptable violence. Chapter 4 focuses on the unmarried in terms of their perceptions of the experiences of violence among girls, including the nature of violence experienced and responses to such experiences.

Chapters 5-7 focus on married women and men. Chapter 5 describes participants' perceptions of the experiences of women with regard to physical, sexual and emotional violence, including likely scenarios, and perceptions of likely factors precipitating violence against women. Chapter 6 describes the perceptions of the married about violence perpetrated on married women by other members of the husband's family, and Chapter 7 presents their perceptions of the responses of women who suffer violence, and the extent and nature of support received from their marital and natal families, the community and the authorities from whom help is sought.

Chapter 8 focuses on insights from FGDs among the unmarried and the married with regard to the characteristics of a positive deviant, that is, a nonviolent boyfriend (in the case of the unmarried) and a nonviolent husband (in the case of the married); more specifically, it draws on insights obtained from in-depth interviews of husbands, and compares the experiences, attitudes, characteristics and motivations of nonviolent husbands with those of their violent counterparts and highlights the factors distinguishing each group. Chapter 9 summarises the awareness of unmarried and married women and men regarding existing programmes to address violence against women and girls; and their recommendations regarding the contours of programmes to reduce such violence in their community. Chapter 10 summarises the main findings of this study and highlights lessons for implementing interventions to address violence against women and girls.

Citation

Jejeebhoy, S.J.; Santhya, K.G.; Sabarwal, S. Gender-based violence: A qualitative exploration of norms, experiences and positive deviance. Population Council, New Delhi, India (2013) iv + 90 pp.

Gender-based violence: A qualitative exploration of norms, experiences and positive deviance

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