Social attitudes to gender based violence

Social attitudes to gender based violence Image

A SURVEY into social attitudes to gender based violence in Dundee has revealed a β€œdisappointing” level of tolerance to paying for sexual gratification.

The on line poll, carried out on behalf of the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership, gauged the views of more than 600 people during October and November.

Ann Hamilton independent chair of the Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership said: β€œIt is clearly disappointing that the survey showed a far higher level of tolerance towards paying for sex, so called entertainment and pornography than for example, sexual violence or the roles of men and women in the workplace.

β€œBut what we have found out means that we can focus our resources much more effectively by shining a light on sexual exploitation and the vulnerability of those involved. The acceptance of men’s right to buy women has to be challenged and we need to understand the impact it has on women’s equality and our society more broadly.

β€œOnly by doing so will the partnership be able to help to change some of the outdated and ill-informed attitudes that the survey uncovered.”

In order to gauge their views respondents were given an opportunity to select a point on a scale between one and five indicating strong agreement through to complete disagreement. An option of neither agree/nor disagree was offered for each question.

The questions were broken down into five broad areas of interaction between the sexes – the roles of men and women in society, the roles of men and women in the workplace, sexual violence, abuse within relationships and paying for sex.

Almost 60% of the 621 people who responded to the on-line survey either agreed with or had no strong view on the statement that: β€œIt is ok for a group of men who are over-18 to go to a strip club and watch naked women”.

Other findings in the section dealing with attitudes to paying for sex included:

  • Just over half of respondents agreed with or had no strong views on the statement that β€œA man over 18 should be able to pay for sex with a woman”;
  • more than half of respondents agreed with or had no strong views on the statement that β€œAdults and teenage boys who read magazines that feature topless women or who watch pornography are not doing anything harmful”;
  • almost 40% of respondents either agreed with or had no strong views on the statement β€œMost women who become prostitutes could easily choose a different job if they wanted to”; and
  • almost 55% of respondents disagreed with or had no strong views on the statement that β€œIt should be against the law to pay for sex”.

In the other sections, people who filled in the survey were much clearer in their negative views on violence against women in relationships, discrimination in the workplace, sexual violence and abuse within relationships.

The Dundee Violence Against Women Partnership has met to discuss the findings which will be used to inform how men’s right to buy sex and the acceptance of adult entertainment and pornography will be challenged.

The survey was part of the city’s response to this year’s United Nations 16 Days of Action Against Gender Based Violence and the full results can be found here - http://bit.ly/2ONJzHK

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