Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) continues to be a significant issue facing women and girls in Sri Lanka. A large number of studies conducted on SGBV tend to evaluate the impact it has on victims/survivors. Having reviewed existing research conducted on SGBV in Sri Lanka, CARE Sri Lanka identified a gap in research: there was no study that examined the attitudes of male perpetrators of SGBV. Our groundbreaking study Broadening Gender: Why Masculinities Matter, conducted over three years in collaboration with Partners for Prevention, was born out of a need to fill this gap.
Twenty-four percent of the men surveyed admitted to using physical violence against their wives or partners, while 15% of men surveyed admitted to having committed rape, with the majority of cases involving the rape of a partner. The study also highlighted some disturbing findings, particularly in relation to men’s motivation for perpetrating violence, as well as in relation to the culture of impunity that leads to a cycle of violence. For example, 67% of men who reported perpetration of sexual violence said that they were motivated by sexual entitlement—their “right” to have sexual relations with women.
CARE Sri Lanka is instituting a multi-pronged approach to tackle SGBV that works with men and boys to address the attitudes of male perpetrators of SGBV. This approach includes implementing a key policy recommendation to address GBV within all state universities in Sri Lanka and working with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to pilot five Child and Women Development Units (CWDU) in five divisions in Sri Lanka. These units support state offices to prevent and respond to SGBV effectively.
Team members Vindhya Fernando and Ashika Gunasena will be representing their work with Broadening Gender at the upcoming Scale X Design Challenge!
Additional contributors to this effort includes:
Zainab Ilrahim, Program Advisor
Hashitha Abeywardana, Program Advisor
Jayanthi Kuru-Utumpala, Gender & Sexuality Specialist