Sixty percent of Indian men admit acting violently against their wife or partner at some point in their lives while 52 percent of women admit having faced some form of violence during their lifetime, says a UN report.
The report, prepared jointly by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Washington-based International Center for Research on Women, was released on the opening day of the four-day “MenEngage Global Symposium” at India Habitat Centre here .
The study, titled “Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference in India”, was conducted in seven Indian states of Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Odisha, Punjab, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.
It involved over 9,000 men and over 3,000 women aged 18-49.
“What we found is that in India, rigid forms of masculinity where men exhibit controlling behaviours and inequitable gender attitudes, strongly determines their preference of sons over daughters as well as their tendency to perpetuate violence against an intimate partner,” the authors maintained.
According to the report, highest cases of violence came from Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, where more than 70 percent of men admitted to being abusive towards their wives and partners.
Data also suggest that men who experience economic stress were more likely to have perpetuated violence.
In the case of women, physical abuse such as being kicked, slapped, choked and burned was most commonly reported. Nearly 38 percent of women said they had faced such abuse.
This was followed by emotional, sexual and economic violence, respectively.
The findings also strengthen the fact that childhood experiences of violence and discrimination have a strong impact on adult men and women’s attitudes and behaviours with regard to masculinity and control.
“To eliminate intimate partner violence and son preference, it is critical that we develop national policies and programmes that promote dialogue between women and girls as well as men and boys to shift harmful gender norms that perpetuate violence and discrimination,” the report emphasised.
“Correspondingly, where education and economic status were increasing, men were less likely to exercise control over their partners and more likely to respect equitable norms,” the study concluded.