ArticlePDF AvailableLiterature Review


Attitudes toward men's violence against women shape both the perpetration of violence against women and responses to this violence by the victim and others around her. For these reasons, attitudes are the target of violence-prevention campaigns. To improve understanding of the determinants of violence against women and to aid the development of violence-prevention efforts, this article reviews the factors that shape attitudes toward violence against women. It offers a framework with which to comprehend the complex array of influences on attitudes toward violent behavior perpetrated by men against women. Two clusters of factors, associated with gender and culture, have an influence at multiple levels of the social order on attitudes regarding violence. Further factors operate at individual, organizational, communal, or societal levels in particular, although their influence may overlap across multiple levels. This article concludes with recommendations regarding efforts to improve attitudes toward violence against women.
La Trobe University, Australia
Deakin University, Australia
Attitudes toward men’s violence against women shape both the perpetration of
violence against women and responses to this violence by the victim and others
around her. For these reasons, attitudes are the target of violence-prevention cam-
paigns. To improve understanding of the determinants of violence against women
and to aid the development of violence-prevention efforts, this article reviews the
factors that shape attitudes toward violence against women. It offers a framework
with which to comprehend the complex array of influences on attitudes toward
violent behavior perpetrated by men against women. Two clusters of factors, asso-
ciated with gender and culture, have an influence at multiple levels of the social
order on attitudes regarding violence. Further factors operate at individual, orga-
nizational, communal, or societal levels in particular, although their influence may
overlap across multiple levels. This article concludes with recommendations
regarding efforts to improve attitudes toward violence against women.
Key words: perceptions of domestic violence; domestic violence; sexual assault; attitudes
ATTITUDES have been of central concern in
relation to violence against women. Attitudes
play a role in the perpetration of this violence,
in victims’ responses to victimization, and in
community responses to violence against
women. With good reason, attitudes have been a
key target of community education campaigns
aimed at preventing violence against women.
However, there has been relatively little coordi-
nated examination of the factors that shape
attitudes toward violence against women.
This review provides an overview of key fac-
tors shaping attitudes to violence against
women. We focus on factors for which there is
existing empirical evidence of their influence,
identifying six key clusters of influence. The
review draws on scholarship examining the for-
mation of attitudes regarding both violence
against women in general and specific forms of
violence (domestic violence, sexual assault,
sexual harassment, etc.) in particular.
We begin with two clusters of factors that
have a multilevel influence on individuals’ atti-
tudes, broadly termed gender and culture. Both
are multilevel in the sense that they influence
attitudes at each of the four levels of attitude
formation otherwise used to organize this dis-
cussion: individual, organizational, community,
TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE, Vol. 10, No. 2, April 2009 125-142
DOI: 10.1177/1524838009334131
© 2009 SAGE Publications
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
126 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
and societal. Both gender and culture therefore
can be seen as meta-factors, influencing atti-
tudes at multiple levels of the social order. We
then examine further individual, organizational,
community level, and societal factors that influ-
ence attitudes toward violence against women.
In a companion piece (Pease & Flood, in press),
we offer a critical examination of the concept of
attitudes itself. We note that attitudes are not the
only causally important variable in relation to
violence against women. Explanations of men’s
violence against women, and efforts to prevent
it, must also address the material conditions and
institutionalized power relations that underpin
violence against women. Nevertheless, attitudes
are significant for violence against women, as
we now discuss.
The past three decades have seen the steady
development of scholarly tools with which to
assess attitudes toward violence against
women. Burt’s (1980) outline of rape myths
was one of the first to operationalize feminist
accounts of sociocultural supports for rape.
Two decades later, at least 11 measures of beliefs
and attitudes regarding sexual aggression had
developed (Murnen, Wright, & Kaluzny, 2002),
addressing such dimensions of sexual vio-
lence as the acceptance of rape myths or
adversarial sexual beliefs, hostile or hyper-
masculinity, victim blaming or victim empa-
thy, and sexually aggressive intentions. Other
instruments focus on attitudes toward and
perceptions of other, specific forms of violence
against women, from wife assault to sexual
harassment and date rape.
Attitudes are significant for violence against
women in three key domains: (a) the perpetra-
tion of violence against women, (b) women’s
response to this victimization, and (c) commu-
nity and institutional responses to violence
against women.
Attitudes have a fundamental and causal
relationship to the perpetration of violence
against women. There is consistent evidence of
an association between violence-supportive
beliefs and values and the perpetration of vio-
lent behavior, at both individual and commu-
nity levels. For example, men with more
traditional, rigid, and misogynistic gender-role
attitudes are more likely to practice marital vio-
lence (Heise, 1998; O’Neil & Harway, 1997).
Boys and young men who endorse more rape-
supportive beliefs are also more likely to have
been sexually coercive (Anderson, Simpson-
Taylor, & Hermann, 2004). In a recent meta-
analysis aggregating data across all studies
relating an aspect of masculine ideology to the
incidence of sexual aggression, Murnen et al.
(2002) found that all but one measure of mascu-
line ideology were significantly associated with
sexual aggression. In other words, there is a con-
sistent relationship between men’s adherence to
sexist, patriarchal, and/or sexually hostile atti-
tudes and their use of violence against women.
Women’s responses to their own subjection to
violence are shaped by their own attitudes and
those of others around them. To the extent that
individual women agree with violence-support-
ive understandings of domestic violence or
sexual assault, they are more likely to blame
themselves for the assault, less likely to report it
to the police or other authorities, and more
likely to experience long-term negative psycho-
logical and emotional effects. Various studies
u Attitudes play a role in violence against women in
three domains: the perpetration of violence
against women, individual and institutional
responses to violence against women, and women’s
own responses to victimization.
u Attitudes toward violence against women are
formed by a wide range of social processes at
multiple levels of the social order.
u Key influences on attitudes at multiple levels
include gender roles and relations and other
forms of social difference associated with ethnicity
and class.
u Further factors documented to shape attitudes
toward violence against women at the individual
level include experiencing or witnessing violence
and age and development. At the organizational
level, they include participation in violence-
supportive contexts, whereas at the community
level, they include participation in informal peer
groups and networks. Finally, at the societal level,
factors that shape attitudes toward violence
against women include pornography and other
media and education campaigns, with other pos-
sible influences including criminal justice policies
and social movements.
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
document that female rape victims’ self-
attributions of blame are associated with greater
trauma and distress (Neville, Heppner, Oh,
Spanierman, & Clark, 2004). Media portrayals
and social norms teach women to self-silence,
and to place their partners’ needs above their
own (Margolis, 1998), and women are less likely
to report violence and abuse by their partners if
they express traditional gender-role attitudes
(Harris, Firestone, & Vega, 2005). Furthermore,
stereotypical and narrow representations of vio-
lence inhibit women from even recognizing and
naming their experience as violence. One of the
key reasons why women do not report incidents
that meet the legal definition of sexual assault is
that many do not fit common stereotypes of real
rape—They were not by a stranger, did not take
place outside and with a weapon, and did not
involve injuries. Women may not perceive acts
as criminal victimization, whereas they are more
likely to do so if perpetrators “deprive victims of
liberty, threaten their lives or physical integrity,
or produce psychological harm” (Lievore, 2003,
p. 28). Victims also do not report violence
because of their perception of others’ attitudes:
They fear that they will be blamed by family and
friends, stigmatized, and the criminal justice
system will not provide redress (Felson, Messner,
Hoskin, & Deane, 2002; Kingsnorth & MacIntosh,
2004; Lievore, 2003). However, there is no evi-
dence that attitudes play a causal role in wom-
en’s risks of victimization in the first place, and
to emphasize this would be to blame the victim
for her victimization. In short, there is no evi-
dence that women’s attitudes to rape influence
their likelihood of being raped (Anderson et al.,
Attitudes play a role in the responses to vio-
lence against women adopted by individuals
other than the perpetrator or victim, whether
family members and friends, professionals,
or bystanders. People with more violence-
supportive and violence-condoning attitudes
respond with less empathy and support to vic-
tims, are more likely to attribute blame to the
victim, are less likely to report the incident to
the police, and are more likely to recommend
lenient or no penalties for the offender (Pavlou
& Knowles, 2001; West & Wandrei, 2002).
Societal attitudes also shape the formal responses
of professionals and institutions to the victims
and perpetrators of violence against women,
including police officers, judges, priests,
social workers, doctors, and so on. Cross-
national studies find that attitudes toward rape
and other forms of violence against women
inhibit effective and appropriate responses to
female victims (Nayak, Byrne, Martin, &
Abraham, 2003).
In a study among Queensland
police officers, those who allocated greater
blame to the victim of family violence also
indicated that they would be less likely to
charge the assailant (Stewart & Maddren,
1997). These formal and informal responses
have effects on the victims themselves.
Others’ responses to help seeking by women
who have experienced abuse from a male
partner influences the likelihood that they
will report future domestic violence to the
police (Hickman & Simpson, 2003), as well as
their subsequent help seeking, separation,
and eventual recovery from the abuse (Giles,
Curreen, & Adamson, 2005).
Given the importance of attitudes with
regard to violence against women, what factors
influence their formation?
Traditional Gender Norms
and Attitudes Toward Violence
One of the most consistent findings to emerge
from studies of attitudes toward violence
against women is a gender gap. Gender is a
consistent predictor of attitudes that support
use of violence against women. A wide range of
international studies find a gender gap in atti-
tudes toward domestic violence, sexual assault,
and other forms of violence against women. In
general, men are more likely than women to
agree with myths and beliefs supportive of vio-
lence against women, perceive a narrower
range of behaviors as violent, blame and show
less empathy for the victim, minimize the
harms associated with physical and sexual
assault, and see behaviors constituting violence
against women as less serious, inappropriate,
or damaging. This gender gap is especially well
documented in studies among college popula-
tions in the United States (Anderson & Swainson,
2001; Chng & Burke, 1999; Cowan, 2000; Ewoldt,
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
128 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
Monson, & Langhinrichsen-Rohling, 2000;
Hinck & Thomas, 1999; Lee, Pomeroy, Yoo, &
Rheinboldt, 2005; West & Wandrei, 2002; White
& Kurpius, 1999, 2002). The gender gap also has
been documented among university students in
other countries including Turkey (Sakalh, 2001),
India, Japan, Kuwait (Nayak et al., 2003), and
Hong Kong (Tang & Cheung, 1997). In Australia,
the gender gap in attitudes toward violence
against women has been documented in repre-
sentative surveys of adults (ANOP Research
Services, 1995) and of youth. A nationwide sur-
vey of 5,000 young people aged 12-20 found that
14% of young males, but only 3% of females,
agreed with the following statement: It’s okay
for a boy to make a girl have sex with him if she
has flirted with him or led him on” (National
Crime Prevention [NCP], 2001). Earlier Australian
studies are similar (Davis & Lee, 1996; Xenos &
Smith, 2001). Gender differences in definitions
and perceptions of violence are evident too
with regard to particular forms of violence
against women, such as sexual harassment
(De Judicibus & McCabe, 2001), date rape
(Workman & Freeberg, 1999), and wife assault
(Hillier & Foddy, 1993). Moreover, cross-gender
differences in attitudes in many countries are
stronger than differences associated with other
social divisions such as socioeconomic status or
education (Kennedy & Gorzalka, 2002).
It is not sex per se, but gender orientations,
that shape men’s and women’s contrasting
understandings of violence against women.
There is a powerful association between atti-
tudes toward violence against women and
attitudes toward gender. Especially among
men, traditional gender-role attitudes are asso-
ciated with greater acceptance of violence
against women (Davis & Liddell, 2002; De
Judicibus & McCabe, 2001; NCP, 2001; Pavlou
& Knowles, 2001; Truman, Tokar, & Fischer,
1996; Wade & Brittan-Powell, 2001; White &
Kurpius, 2002). Conversely, the more that
people maintain egalitarian gender attitudes,
the better are their attitudes toward violence
against women. They are more likely to see
violence against women as unacceptable, to
define a wider variety of acts as violence or
abuse, to reject victim blaming, to support the
victim, and to hold accountable the person
using violence. The most consistent predictor
of attitudes supporting the use of violence
against women is attitudes toward gender
roles, that is, beliefs about appropriate roles for
men and women (Berkel, Vandiver, & Bahner,
2004; Good, Heppner, Hillenbrand-Gunn, &
Wang, 1995; Simonson & Subich, 1999).
The relationship between adherence to con-
servative gender norms and tolerance for vio-
lence has been documented among males in a
wide variety of communities and countries, both
Western and non-Western, including Arab and
ultraorthodox Jewish communities in Israel (Haj-
Yahia, 2003; Steinmetz & Haj-Yahia, 2006), South
Africa (Abrahams, Jewkes, Laubscher, & Hoffman,
2006), and adult men and young men in Australia
(De Judicibus & McCabe, 2001; NCP, 2001;
Pavlou & Knowles, 2001). The relationship
between gender typing and victim blaming
seems to be far weaker among women, perhaps
because of their low levels of attributions of
blame overall (De Judicibus & McCabe, 2001).
Gender and Sexual Norms
Attitudes to violence against women are
inextricably grounded in and intertwined with
attitudes toward women, gender, and sexual-
ity. In other words, judgments of violence
against women are shaped by wider norms of
gender and sexuality. For example, percep-
tions of the legitimacy of men’s violence to
intimate partners are constituted through
agreement with the notions that men should
be dominant in households and intimate rela-
tionships and have the right to enforce their
dominance through physical chastisement,
men have uncontrollable sexual urges, women
are deceptive and malicious, and marriage is a
guarantee of sexual consent. Such beliefs have
a long history in Western and other cultures,
and they have been enshrined in Western legal
systems (Straton, 2002) and social norms
(Berkel et al., 2004). For example, women who
dress less modestly and more suggestively are
more likely to be seen as responsible for and
deserving of sexual assault (Viki & Abrams,
2002; Whatley, 2005). Women are seen as more
likely to provoke sexual harassment if they are
attractive (Golden, Johnson, & Lopez, 2001)
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
and as more culpable for date rape if wearing a
short rather than long skirt (Workman &
Freeberg, 1999), whereas stereotypically attrac-
tive male perpetrators are judged as less harass-
ing (La Rocca & Kromrey, 1999). Female victims
of domestic violence are judged more harshly
where they are perceived to have provoked
aggression, for example, by being verbally
aggressive or in situations that might inspire
their husbands’ jealousy (Hillier & Foddy, 1993;
Pavlou & Knowles, 2001). When a man rapes
his wife or girlfriend rather than a stranger, he
is seen as less responsible, the behavior is seen
as less harmful, and it is less likely to be seen as
rape (Cowan, 2000; Simonson & Subich, 1999).
Violence-supportive norms and relations are
evident in normal sexual, intimate, and family
relations. For example, three studies among
youth in the United States, New Zealand, and
Britain document that violence, and the ante-
cedents of violence, are woven into the ordinary
descriptions of romantic heterosexual relation-
ships given by early adolescent boys and girls.
For many boys and girls, sexual harassment is
pervasive, male aggression is normalized, there
is constant pressure among boys to behave in
sexually aggressive ways, girls are routinely
objectified, a sexual double standard polices girls’
sexual and intimate involvements, and girls are
compelled to accommodate male needs and
desires in negotiating their sexual relations (Hird
& Jackson, 2001;
Tolman, Spencer, Rosen-Reynoso,
& Porche, 2003).
Given that attitudes toward gender and gen-
der roles have a profound influence on assess-
ments of the victims and perpetrators of
violence against women, it is worth examining
the formation of gender-role attitudes in gen-
eral. Although a full examination is beyond the
scope of this review, several points are worth
noting. First, improvements in attitudes toward
violence against women in Western countries
in recent decades may reflect improvements in
attitudes toward gender roles, where the latter
has been best documented in the United States.
There has been since the 1970s a “dramatic and
widespread liberalization of gender role atti-
tudes” in U.S. society (Bolzendahl & Myers,
2004, p. 759), corroborated by other longitudi-
nal analyses (Bryant, 2003; Ciabattari, 2001;
Harris & Firestone, 1998). Key predictors of
proequality or feminist attitudes, whether
among women, men, or both, include employ-
ment, (younger) age, (greater) education, and
(urban) region. However, general gender atti-
tudes cannot be taken as a simple proxy for
attitudes to violence against women. For exam-
ple, measures of general gender-role attitudes
have less power to predict men’s sexual aggres-
sion than measures of hostile and patriarchal
masculine beliefs in particular (Murnen et al.,
2002). We move now to the second cluster of
factors shown to influence attitudes toward
violence against women.
Culture here is understood broadly to refer to
class, race, ethnicity, and other forms of social
difference (other than gender). This usage is
somewhat arbitrary, in that gender is just as
cultural as class or ethnicity. Nevertheless, dis-
tinguishing between gender and culture allows
us to emphasize important clusters of influence
on individual attitudes toward violence against
women. Scholarship on the associations between
attitudes toward violence against women and
forms of social difference has focused largely on
gender and race or ethnicity and to a lesser
extent on age, while neglecting divisions of
class and sexuality. Although this section reflects
such a focus, we begin with socioeconomic fac-
tors to highlight that culture is not being used as
a euphemism for ethnicity.
Socioeconomic Factors
There is some evidence that attitudes toward
violence against women vary with socioeco-
nomic variables such as labor market participa-
tion and socioeconomic status, for example, in
Australia (ANOP Research Services, 1995) and
the United States United States (Markowitz,
2003; Nagel, Matsuo, McIntyre, & Morrison,
2005). Moreover, rates of violence against
women themselves vary with socioeconomic
variables, and American and Australian stud-
ies find associations between economic and
social disadvantage and higher risks of vio-
lence and crime in general and intimate partner
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
130 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
violence in particular, at both individual and
neighborhood levels (Markowitz, 2003; People,
2005). Such associations are shaped by atti-
tudes toward violence, and these in turn are
likely to be shaped by personal and commu-
nity exposure to violence, the community-level
structural factors that intensify this violence
(Markowitz, 2003), and other correlates of
socioeconomic status.
Race and Ethnicity
Attitudes toward violence against women
vary across different cultural groups and com-
munities in any one country and from one cul-
ture to another. Australian research found that
adults born in non-English-speaking countries
had poorer attitudes to domestic violence
than those born in Australia or other Western
countries (ANOP Research Services, 1995),
whereas those 12-20-year-olds who agreed
with the use of violence by both sexes were
more likely to have Middle Eastern or Asian
backgrounds (NCP, 2001). Similarly, various
North American studies have documented
ethnicity-related differences in attitudes
toward violence against women (Cowan, 2000;
Kennedy & Gorzalka, 2002; Locke & Richman,
1999; Mori, Bernat, Glenn, Selle, & Zarate,
1995). For example, Asian students at a Texas
university were more likely than White stu-
dents to believe that women are responsible
for preventing rape, sex is a motivation for
rape, and victims precipitate rape, perhaps
reflecting Asian cultural attitudes emphasiz-
ing female chastity, silencing talk about sex,
and framing sex as a sexual matter between
individuals (Lee et al., 2005).
However, other research explores inter-Asian
comparisons and finds significant interethnic
differences. In a U.S. study, Yoshioka, DiNoia,
and Ullah (2001) found that Southeast Asian
respondents were more supportive of the use of
violence and of male privilege than East Asian
respondents. Inter-Asian differences suggest
the influences of particular cultural systems,
patterns of immigration, and other factors. In
addition, apparent differences in attitudes
among ethnic groups may reflect other demo-
graphic contrasts between them. For example,
apparent differences between White and African
American people’s attitudes toward victims of
rape disappeared once differences in socioeco-
nomic status and education were taken into
account (Nagel et al., 2005). Attitudes regard-
ing violence against women vary from one
nation to another (Cousineau & Rondeau, 2004;
Heaven, Connors, & Pretorius, 1998; Nayak et al.,
2003), although few cross-national examinations
have been conducted.
Attitudes toward violence against women
are constructed by, and are only meaningful
within, particular cultural contexts. For exam-
ple, in Beirut, Lebanon, perceptions of rape are
structured by the centrality of marriage and
marriageability in shaping notions of women’s
status (Wehbi, 2002). Women seen to be unmar-
riageable, because they are separated, divorced,
or disabled, for example, are perceived as more
legitimate targets of sexual predation. In
Palestine, cultural emphases on preserving
family reputation and female virginity stifle
responses to female rape victims and revictim-
ize the victims themselves (Shalhoub-Kevorkian,
1999). Notions of male honor and female purity
and modesty can be used to justify and excuse
violence against women. Honor cultures
involve traditional gender ideologies and male
dominance, strong familialism, and norms of
female chastity and male sexual freedom. Both
men and women from such cultures are more
tolerant of men’s violence to female partners,
see men’s violent responses to infidelity as more
excusable, and have more positive responses to
victims who blame themselves for the violence
(Vandello & Cohen, 2003).
The associations between culture and attitudes
toward violence against women are dynamic. On
one hand, there is evidence that people who
move from a more violence-supportive cultural
context to a less violence-supportive one can
have their tolerance for violence lessened as a
result. Two studies documented that attitudes
can improve with Western acculturation (Kennedy
& Gorzalka, 2002; Mori et al., 1995). On the other
hand, violence-supportive attitudes can be
imported by immigrant communities from one
cultural context to another (Ely, 2004).
Acknowledging the ways in which violence-
supportive attitudes are shaped by ethnicity
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
runs the risk of reinforcing racism (Stubbs,
2003). At the same time, we must address the
complex intersections of race and ethnicity,
class, and other forms of social difference that
shape women’s and men’s attitudes toward
and involvements in violence (Russo, 2001).
Culture here overlaps with gender, our first
meta-factor, in that cultural and national varia-
tions in attitudes themselves partially reflect
variations in gender. Differences in attitudes
toward violence against women in different
countries and cultures reflect different beliefs
about gender roles. Societies with lower rates
of violence against women are characterized by
more gender egalitarian attitudes and behavior
and a greater intolerance of violence (Nayak
et al., 2003). At the same time, cultural differ-
ences are not reducible to gender, in that they
also reflect other social, political, and economic
characteristics of contexts and communities.
Experiencing or Witnessing Violence
One of the key mechanisms of attitude for-
mation in relation to violence against women
is intergenerational transmission. There is
strong evidence that children who either wit-
ness such violence or are subjected to violence
themselves are more likely as adults to adhere
to violence-supportive attitudes (and to perpe-
trate violence). There is a well-documented
association between a history of child physical
abuse and men’s current physical aggression to
an intimate partner, with childhood victimization
having consistent, small-to-medium effects in
the findings of 8 out of 10 relevant studies
(Schumacher, Feldbau-Kohn, Slep, & Heyman,
2001). Attitudes are central to this link: “Children
who are subject to violence come to engage in
violence in their later marital relationships
because they acquire certain attitudes which
facilitate violence” (Markowitz, 2001, p. 215).
Thus, witnessing or experiencing violence
while growing up has a direct impact on the
perpetration of violence against spouses and an
impact on attitudes, which in turn impact on
perpetration (Markowitz, 2001, pp. 207-208).
More recent studies, including longitudinal
examinations, continue to document the inter-
generational transmission of violence-support-
ive attitudes and behaviors (Carr & VanDeusen,
2002; Lichter & McCloskey, 2004; National
Institute of Justice [NIJ], 2004). A meta-analysis
of 118 studies suggests that children who wit-
ness interparental violence show more nega-
tive psychosocial outcomes than children who
witness only other forms of interparental con-
flict or aggression (Kitzmann, Gaylord, Holt, &
Kenny, 2003).
The effects of witnessing or experiencing vio-
lence are greater for males than females, as at
least five studies have found (Markowitz, 2001).
In other words, it is boys, rather than girls, who
are more likely to grow up to condone and to
perpetrate violence against women having wit-
nessed or experienced violence themselves.
Similar patterns can be discerned for sexual
violence in particular (Abbey, Zawacki, Buck,
Clinton, & McAuslan, 2004). Among girls, how-
ever, evidence for the impact of observing inter-
parental violence or experiencing childhood
physical abuse on subsequent victimization is
inconsistent (Adams-Curtis & Forbes, 2004;
NIJ, 2004; Riggs, Caulfield, & Street, 2000;
Schumacher et al., 2001).
Such patterns among boys lend support to a
social learning theory of intimate partner vio-
lence. Through witnessing the use of violence
by one parent against another, they may learn
that violence is an effective and appropriate
instrumental strategy (Heise, 1998). However,
early experiences of violence also shape chil-
dren’s developing personalities and may inhibit
behavioral control, adaptive social skills, and
empathy (Carr & VanDeusen, 2002; Johnson &
Knight, 2000). More widely, the relationship
between children’s witnessing and experience
of violence and their adult perpetration may
reflect processes of cultural transmission, in
which the violence-supportive norms and vio-
lent social relations of local communities are
learnt from generation to generation.
There are three caveats to be made here.
First, some studies find no link between child-
hood victimization and the adolescent or adult
perpetration of violence (Sellers, Cochran, &
Branch, 2005) or young people’s own attitudes
toward domestic violence (NCP, 2001). Second,
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
132 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
prior experiences of violence can lead to diverse
attitudinal formations, both violence-supportive
and violence-intolerant (De Judicibus &
McCabe, 2001). Third, childhood victimization
interacts with other influences and involvements
to shape adolescent and adult males attitudes
toward and perpetration of violence against
women. Research examining predictors of sexu-
ally coercive behavior finds that the impact of
parental violence and child abuse on boys is
mediated by sexually hostile attitudes and
emphases on sexual conquest and promiscuity
(Johnson & Knight, 2000).
Age and Development
Age, and the developmental processes and
relations associated with age, appears to be
another factor shaping individuals’ attitudes
toward violence against women. It might be
expected that younger individuals will espouse
more informed attitudes toward violence against
women, reflecting improvements over time in
attitudes as well as the influence of younger
cohorts’ greater exposure to university and other
positive influences. Certainly, there is evidence
of better attitudes among individuals under 55,
from a variety of surveys in Australia and
United States (ANOP Research Services, 1995;
Carlson & Worden, 2005; Nagel et al., 2005). At
the same time, among the youngest age groups,
and males in particular, younger people have
worse attitudes than their older counterparts. A
series of international studies document that
boys and young men are more likely than older
men to endorse rape-supportive norms and to
report a likelihood of committing rape (Aromaki,
Haebich, & Lindman, 2002), whereas there are
either no age-related differences among young
females (Hutchinson, Tess, Gleckman, Hagans,
& Reese, 1994) or gender differences that are
greatest among younger individuals (Anderson
et al., 2004). Among Australian youth aged 12
to 20, younger boys aged 12 to 14 showed
higher support for violence-supportive atti-
tudes than older males (NCP, 2001). Two other
Australian studies report similar results (Davis
& Lee, 1996; Xenos & Smith, 2001).
There are at least three explanations for this
pattern. Younger boys’ greater endorsement of
violence against women may reflect their lack
of exposure to the liberalizing influence of late
secondary school and university education. It
may reflect developmental shifts in attitudes
and in other qualities, such as empathy, sensi-
tivity, and moral awareness (Davis & Lee, 1996,
p. 799; Hutchinson et al., 1994, p. 417). It may
reflect distinct characteristics of boys’ peer cul-
tures. Among boys, both gender segregation
and homophobia peak in early adolescence
(Flood, 2002; Plummer, 1999), and in this con-
text boys may be particularly prone to express-
ing views tolerant of violence against (girls
and) women. In the late school years and after
school, boys invest more in social and sexual
relations with girls, they are less influenced by
school peer groups, and they achieve more
stable gender and sexual identities. Such shifts
may lessen both older males’ endorsement of
violence-supportive attitudes and the gender
gap in this endorsement.
The second cluster of factors shown to influ-
ence attitudes toward violence against women
are organizational, namely the social relations,
cultures, policies, and other characteristics of
formal organizations and institutions. We focus
in this section on the impact of membership of
or participation in formal contexts. Organizations
impacts on the wider community and their
informal social relations are the focus of later
sections below.
Associations between violence-supportive
attitudes and formal organizations or institu-
tions have been documented for four types of
context: sports, university residences (fraterni-
ties), military, and religious institutions. Taking
sport first, early research noted that male ath-
letes report significantly greater agreement with
rape-supportive statements than men in gen-
eral (Boeringer, 1999). Contemporary research
documents that violence-supportive attitudes
are spread unevenly across sports and can vary
even within a particular sport. In an American
study among university athletes, rape myth
acceptance was highest among male athletes,
especially younger athletes and those playing
a team-based sport (football or basketball)
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
versus individual sport (Sawyer, Thompson, &
Chicorelli, 2002).
For both sports and university residences,
there is evidence of particular masculine con-
texts in which violence-supportive norms,
and violence against women, are particularly
intense (Murnen & Kohlman, 2007). On American
campus cultures with high rates of sexual vio-
lence, some of the sociocultural correlates
(especially among college fraternities) include
greater gender segregation, an ethic of male
sexual conquest and getting sex, displays of
masculinity through heterosexual sexual per-
formance, high alcohol consumption, hetero-
sexism and homophobia, use of pornography,
and general norms of women’s subordinate
status (Boswell & Spade, 1996; Sanday, 1996).
Some fraternities and athletic teams involve
much higher risks of sexual assault than others,
because of members’ higher levels of hostility
toward women and peer support for sexual
violence (Humphrey & Kahn, 2000). Another
context with similar masculine dynamics and
similarly elevated levels of tolerance for vio-
lence against women is the military. The evi-
dence is that it is not group membership per se,
but norms of gender inequality and homosocial
male bonding that foster and justify abuse in
particular peer cultures, that promote violence
against women (Rosen, Kaminski, Parmley,
Knudson, & Fancher, 2003; Schwartz &
DeKeseredy, 1997).
Several mechanisms may produce the
increased prevalence of violence-supportive
attitudes and violent behavior among men in
such contexts. One is group socialization: Men
are actively inducted into the existing norms
and values of these contexts. Another is involve-
ment: participation in peer activities associated
with that subculture, such as drinking or con-
suming pornography (Godenzi, Schwartz, &
Dekeseredy, 2001). Others include identifica-
tion with the group (Humphrey & Kahn, 2000),
attachment—having close emotional ties to
significant others—and commitment—men’s
investments in the patriarchal social order
and their interest in gaining the rewards of
peer acceptance and status associated, for
example, with sexually active and potentially
abusive behavior (Godenzi et al., 2001). Another
mechanism is self-selection. Thus, men’s invest-
ment in and conformity to social norms and
bonds in patriarchal and violence-supportive
contexts encourages their development of vio-
lent attitudes and behaviors.
There is also evidence that participation in
particular occupational or educational con-
texts can shape attitudes toward violence
against women. Individuals who attend uni-
versity, who have received university educa-
tion, or with higher levels of educational
attainment tend to have more progressive atti-
tudes than individuals who do not or have not
(ANOP Research Services, 1995; De Judicibus
& McCabe, 2001; Foulis & McCabe, 1997;
Nagel et al., 2005). These patterns may reflect
the younger age profile of university students
or the liberalizing influence of educational
environments (Bryant, 2003).
Studies comparing particular occupational
groups are rare, but they suggest that some
workplace and professional cultures involve
less violence-supportive norms than others.
Hong Kong psychologists, social workers, and
nurses had broader definitions of violence
against women than police officers and law-
yers, which may reflect the latters’ work in set-
tings where legal and more restrictive definitions
of criminal behavior are dominant (Tang &
Cheung, 1997). Among people working or
studying in mental health and counseling in
the United States, alongside a persistent gender
gap, undergraduates had more negative atti-
tudes toward rape victims than graduate coun-
seling students, who in turn had more negative
attitudes than the mental health professionals
(White & Kurpius, 1999). Such examples may
reflect the influence of occupational cultures
and training in encouraging positive shifts in
violence-supportive attitudes or self-selection
by individuals who are more sensitive to issues
of gender and violence. However, occupational
cultures may intensify violence-supportive
norms. In a U.S. study, gender uniformity in
police attitudes regarding domestic violence
may have reflected female officers’ education in
the norms of this male-dominated occupation
(Stalans & Finn, 2000).
There is some evidence that religious and
spiritual involvements and beliefs can influence
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
134 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
individuals’ attitudes toward violence against
women, although some studies find no rela-
tionship between religiosity and the endorse-
ment of domestic violence (Berkel et al., 2004).
In the United States, Catholic priests and
Protestant ministers with greater adherence to
fundamentalist religious beliefs had narrower
definitions of wife abuse and more victim-
blaming responses to battered women (Gengler
& Lee, 2003). Among clergy from more than 20
Christian denominations, the more sexist that
participants’ attitudes were, and the more fun-
damentalist their religious beliefs were, the
more unfavorable were their attitudes toward
rape victims (Sheldon & Parent, 2002).
Peer Groups and Informal
Social Relations
Just as attitudes toward violence against
women are shaped by participation in formal
groups, institutions, and occupations, they are
shaped by participation in informal peer groups
and social networks. Indeed, these two overlap.
Men’s peer and social relations have a signifi-
cant influence on their tolerance for (and perpe-
tration of) intimate partner violence. Participation
and investment in homosocial male peer groups
can intensify men’s tolerance for violence against
women. A series of North American studies
have documented that male peer support for
sexual assault, including young men’s attach-
ment (close emotional ties) to abusive peers,
and peers’ informational support for sexual
assault (peer guidance and advice that influ-
ences men to assault their dating partners) were
significantly correlated with sexual and physi-
cal abuse of women (DeKeseredy & Kelly, 1995;
Schwartz & DeKeseredy, 1997, 2000). Two fur-
ther U.S. studies among university students
document associations between embeddedness
in a social network in which men’s intimate
partner violence is condoned and rewarded
and the use of such violence (Reitzel-Jaffe &
Wolfe, 2001; Sellers et al., 2005).
There is recent experimental evidence that
perceptions of peer norms regarding violence
against women do influence men’s self-reported
willingness to commit such violence. In a German
study among male university students, Bohner,
Siebler, and Schmelcher (2006) found that if
men were told that others in their peer group
had a high level of acceptance of rape myths,
their own rape proclivity increased. More gen-
erally, among U.S. undergraduate men, having
a homosocially focused social life is associated
with attitudes conducive to the sexual harass-
ment of women (Wade & Brittan-Powell, 2001)
and with more conservative views of gender
roles (Bryant, 2003).
Religion, Spirituality, and Churches
Spiritual institutions potentially have an
impact on attitudes toward violence beyond
their influence on their direct participants.
Although there is little empirical assessment of
potential impacts, there is evidence of contexts in
which religion is (mis)used to justify violence
against women or to perpetuate women’s
vulnerability to victimization. For example,
Christian evangelism’s emphasis on wifely sub-
mission and hierarchical gender relations can
encourage pastors to counsel women to stay
with their abusers (Nason-Clark, 1997). In some
Arab and Islamic countries, selective excerpts
from the Koran may be used to prove that men
who beat their wives are following God’s com-
mandments (Douki, Nacef, Belhadj, Bouasker, &
Ghachem, 2003). Shari’a (Islamic law) may be
used to sanction male authority over female rela-
tives and the legitimate use of physical violence
(Hajjar, 2004). At the same time, religious and
theological emphases on compassion, justice,
and liberation in a variety of faiths can be mobi-
lized in opposition to violence against women
(Ware, Levitt, & Bayer, 2004).
Mass Media
There is substantial evidence that particular
forms of media do influence attitudes toward
violence against women. At the same time,
media representations do not have simple and
deterministic effects on attitudes or indeed
behaviors. Instead, viewers engage with media
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
texts in active and diverse ways. Personal and
developmental factors mediate the impact of
exposure. The relationship between violent
media representations and violent attitudes or
behaviors is reciprocal, in that viewers with
violent inclinations and behaviors show greater
interest in and enjoyment of violent media
representations. And the relationships between
representations and attitudes or behaviors are
complex (Flood & Hamilton, 2003; Huessman,
Pornography. The application of summary
techniques or meta-analysis to existing empiri-
cal studies finds consistent relationships between
pornography and sexual aggression (Malamuth,
Addison, & Koss, 2000). This association is
strongest for violent pornography and still reli-
able for nonviolent pornography, particularly
among frequent users. Several types of empiri-
cal examination demonstrate this relationship.
In experimental studies, adults show significant
strengthening of attitudes supportive of sexual
aggression following exposure to pornography.
Exposure to sexually violent material increases
male viewers’ acceptance of rape myths, desen-
sitizes them to sexual violence, and shapes more
callous attitudes toward female victims (Allen,
Emmers, Gebhardt, & Giery, 1995). Experimental
studies also find that adults also show an
increase in behavioral aggression following
exposure to pornography, again especially vio-
lent pornography (Allen, Alessio, Emmers, &
Gebhardt, 1996). Correlational studies of por-
nography use in everyday life find that men
who use hardcore, violent, or rape pornography,
and men who are high-frequency users of por-
nography, are significantly more likely than oth-
ers to report that they would rape or sexually
harass a woman if they knew they could get
away with it. There is a circular relationship
among some men between sexual violence and
pornography (Malamuth et al., 2000).
Television and other popular media. Other
media, such as television, music, and film, are
also effective teachers of gender-stereotyped
and violence-supportive attitudes (Hogan,
2005; Huessmann, 2007). Both experimental
and observational studies among children
document greater rates of aggressive attitudes
and behavior among children exposed to media
violence, correlational studies show a relation-
ship between heavy viewing of television vio-
lence and self-reported or peer-assessed violent
behavior, and longitudinal studies find that
exposure to media violence in early childhood is
a significant predictor of aggression at older
ages (Strasburger & Wilson, 2002). Viewing
media violence shapes children’s cognitive
schemas, normative beliefs, and scripts for social
behavior, as well as their later aggressive behav-
ior, including when one controls for early
aggressiveness (Huessman, 2007).
Media impacts on young people’s attitudes
toward violence against women have been fur-
ther identified in two genres of mass media in
particular: music and electronic games. Various
studies find that sexually violent, misogynist,
and objectifying themes influence violence-
supportive, sexually aggressive, and sexist atti-
tudes (Barongan & Nagayama, 1995; Johnson,
Jackson, & Gatto, 1995; Kalof, 1999; Strasburger
& Wilson, 2002; Johnson, Adams, Ashburn, &
Reed, 1995). In more focused and intense forms
of media involvement, such as playing violent
electronic games, aggressive behavioral scripts
may be shaped by powerful combinations of
psychological absorption and immersion (Funk,
2002). There is a growing evidence that playing
violent electronic games is associated with
lower empathy and stronger adherence to
proviolence attitudes (Anderson & Bushman,
2001; Funk, 2002; Funk, Baldacci, Pasold, &
Baumgardner, 2004) and an emerging consen-
sus that exposure to violence in video games
and elsewhere is an important risk factor for
aggression (Gentile & Anderson, 2005).
Other aspects of popular culture identified
as reinforcing community tolerance for vio-
lence against women include advertising and
language (Murnen et al., 2002). Materials iden-
tified as particularly concerning here include
TV advertising for children with aggressive
content (Larson, 2003) and advertisements
focused on women’s bodies and body parts
(Hall & Crum, 1994; Reichert & Carpenter,
2004). There is evidence that the latter por-
trayals can increase attitudinal support for
sexual aggression, especially among men (Lanis
& Covel, 1995).
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
136 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
News coverage. Media coverage of and public
controversy regarding high-profile incidents of
violence against women can increase commu-
nity awareness. In a U.S. attitudinal poll, 72%
of respondents reported that they had learned
something about domestic violence from the
media coverage of the O. J. Simpson trial, such
as the fact that such violence “is a serious prob-
lem” (Klein, Campbell, Soler, & Ghez, 1997,
pp. 8-11). Media coverage of domestic violence
dramatically increased over 1994-1995, and
over a single year the percentage of male
respondents who rated domestic violence as an
extremely important social problem climbed
from 25% to 33%. After the Hill-Thomas sexual
harassment hearings in 1991, Jaschik-Herman
and Fisk (1995) replicated a study that had
taken place 2 years before. Women in the more
recent study were more likely to spontaneously
label as harassment the behaviors depicted in a
video segment.
However, media reportage can have nega-
tive effects. Depersonalized representations of
female victims of violent crime decrease empa-
thy toward them and engender victim blame
(Anastasio & Costa, 2004).
Community education and social marketing cam-
paigns. Education and media have also been
deliberately used to change attitudes. Face-
to-face education regarding violence against
women is delivered in primary and second-
ary schools, universities, and in other con-
texts. Such interventions can have positive
effects on males’ attitudes toward and par-
ticipation in violence against women (Flood,
2005-2006; Whitaker et al., 2006). Although
not all educational interventions are effective
and changes in attitudes often rebound to
preintervention levels, education programs
that are intensive, lengthy, and use a variety
of pedagogical approaches have been shown
to produce lasting change in attitudes and
behaviors (Flood, 2005-2006). In addition,
social marketing campaigns in the mass media
have been shown to produce positive change
in the attitudes (and behaviors) associated
with men’s perpetration of violence against
women (Donovan & Vlais, 2005).
Criminal Justice Policies
and Law Reform
Although there is little consensus on the
impact of criminal justice policies on the atti-
tudes of the wider community (Dugan, 2003),
an American study did show that the existence
of legal sanctions has an impact on attitudes
toward violence against women. Perceptions of
criminal justice policies impacted attitudes
toward criminal justice responses and had
effects on victim-blaming attitudes in relation
to domestic violence (Salazar, Baker, Price, &
Carlin, 2003). For example, the perception that
the criminal justice system intervenes and pro-
vides punitive sanctions for domestic violence
influences community support for a criminal
justice system response. Given this, it is possi-
ble that criminal justice systems may have a
negative influence on attitudes when they fail
to respond appropriately to the victims and
perpetrators of violence against women.
Social Movements
The last form of influence on attitudes toward
violence against women we consider is social
movements. The social movement with the
most impact on community norms regarding
violence against women is the women’s move-
ment. Public recognition of men’s violence
against women as a social problem has been a
major achievement of the women’s movement
in particular (Bush, 1992). It is difficult to docu-
ment the impact of social movements on social
norms, in part because of the scale at which
change occurs and the complexity of the pos-
sible dynamics of change, but it is very likely
that the women’s movements and feminism
have had a distinctive, and substantial, impact
on attitudes toward violence against women.
The women’s movement’s impact is likely to
be both direct, through its advocacy on vio-
lence, and indirect, through its impact on gen-
der norms and relations more widely. Other
collective mobilizations with a potential influ-
ence on community understandings of violence
against women include antifeminist men’s
rights and fathers’ rights, profeminist men’s
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
groups (Flood, 2005), and conservative reli-
gious groups and networks. However, there is
very little direct empirical evidence of their
impacts, whether positive or negative.
Attitudes toward violence against women
are shaped by a multitude of factors at all levels
of the social order. Two clusters of factors have
a multilevel influence on attitudes. Both gender
and culture are powerful influences on atti-
tudes, and both operate at micro- and mac-
rolevels including individual socialization, the
norms and relations of particular contexts and
communities, and the society-wide workings
of the media, law, and other factors. Gender
and culture themselves intersect, in that differ-
ent cultural contexts involve particular norms
and relations of gender that shape attitudes
toward violence against women. In addition, a
wide range of other influences on attitudes
operate among individuals, organizations,
communities, or in society as a whole, and
many of these operate at more than one level.
For example, particular institutions such as
schools and workplaces shape their partici-
pants’ attitudes through both formal policies
and structures and informal norms; they are
locations for informal peer relations that shape
attitudes, and such institutions are themselves
shaped in dynamic ways by wider factors such
as the mass media. In turn, the influence of soci-
etal factors such as the mass media is affected
by the local contexts in which media representa-
tions are seen and individual variations in expe-
rience and understanding. The intersections of
gender, race and ethnicity, and other social divi-
sions cut across all of these levels and help to
reproduce the social relations and institutional
structures that perpetuate proviolence attitudes
and violence toward women.
Given the breadth of factors, settings, and
social forces that shape attitudes regarding vio-
lence against women, there is a wide range of
possible settings and groups for intervention
in such attitudes. There is not space here to
identify key points, settings, and popula-
tions for intervention, although we have
done so elsewhere (Flood & Pease, 2006).
However, efforts to improve attitudes toward
violence against women should be guided by
five assumptions. First, the process of chang-
ing attitudes must be located within a project
of changing familial, organizational, com-
munal, and societal norms that support vio-
lence against women. Second, interventions
must address not only those attitudes that are
overtly condoning of violence against women
but also the wider clusters of attitudes related
to gender and sexuality that normalize and
justify this violence. Given the close associa-
tion between attitudes toward violence against
women and attitudes toward gender, espe-
cially males’ adherence to sexist, patriarchal,
and hostile attitudes toward women, the latter
must be targeted in educational campaigns.
Third, efforts to address violence-supportive
attitudes must also work to provide an alterna-
tive, a set of norms and values centered on
nonviolence and gender equality. Fourth, vio-
lence prevention interventions must be cultur-
ally appropriate, such that this includes
sensitivity not only to ethnic diversities but
also to local gender cultures (Flood, 2005-
2006). Finally, interventions aimed at attitudi-
nal and cultural change must be accompanied
by changes in structural relations and social
practices if violence against women is to be
u Attitudes are a key variable shaping violence against
women, although this violence also has cultural,
collective, and institutional underpinnings.
u Efforts to prevent violence against women must
address not only those attitudes that are overtly con-
doning of violence against women but also the wider
clusters of attitudes related to gender and sexuality
that normalize and justify this violence.
u Equally, prevention efforts must address particular social
processes and settings through which violence-supportive
attitudes are maintained. Key processes include the
intergenerational transmission of violence facilitated by
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
138 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
Abbey, A., Zawacki, T., Buck, P. O., Clinton, A. M., &
McAuslan, P. (2004). Sexual assault and alcohol con-
sumption: What do we know about their relationship
and what types of research are still needed? Aggression
and Violent Behavior, 9, 271-303.
Abrahams, N., Jewkes, R., Laubscher, R., & Hoffman, M.
(2006). Intimate partner violence: Prevalence and risk
factors for men in Cape Town, South Africa. Violence
and Victims, 21, 247-264.
Adams-Curtis, L. E., & Forbes, G. B. (2004). College
women’s experiences of sexual coercion: A review of
cultural, perpetrator, victim, and situational variables.
Trauma Violence, & Abuse, 5, 91-122.
Allen, M., Alessio, D., Emmers, T. M., & Gebhardt, L. (1996).
The role of educational briefings in mitigating effects of
experimental exposure to violent sexually explicit mate-
rial: A meta-analysis. Journal of Sex Research, 33, 135-141.
Allen, M., Emmers, T., Gebhardt, L., & Giery, M. A. (1995).
Exposure to pornography and acceptance of rape
myths. Journal of Communication, 45, 5-26.
Amanda, B. D., & Sarah, K. M. (2004). Learning to be
little women and little men: The inequitable gender
equality of nonsexist children’s literature. Sex Roles,
50, 373-385.
Anastasio, P. A., & Costa, D. M. (2004). Twice hurt: How
newspaper coverage may reduce empathy and engen-
der blame for female victims of crime. Sex Roles, 51,
Anderson, C. A., & Bushman, B. J. (2001). Effects of vio-
lent video games on aggressive behavior, aggressive
cognition, aggressive affect, physiological arousal, and
prosocial behavior: A meta-analytic review of the sci-
entific literature. Psychological Science, 12, 353-359.
Anderson, I., & Swainson, V. (2001). Perceived motivation
for rape: Gender differences in beliefs about female
and male rape. Current Research in Social Psychology, 6,
Anderson, V. N., Simpson-Taylor, D., & Hermann, D. J.
(2004). Gender, age, and rape-supportive rules. Sex
Roles: A Journal of Research, 50, 77-90.
ANOP Research Services. (1995). Community attitudes to
violence against women: Detailed report. Canberra,
Australia: Office of the Status of Women, Department
of the Prime Minister and Cabinet.
Aromaki, A. S., Haebich, K., & Lindman, R. E. (2002). Age
as a modifier of sexually aggressive attitudes in men.
Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, 43, 419-423.
Barongan, C., & Nagayama, G. C. (1995). The influence of
misogynous rap music on sexual aggression against
women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 19, 195-207.
Berkel, L., Vandiver, B., & Bahner, A. (2004). Gender role
attitudes, religion, and spirituality as predictors of
domestic violence attitudes in White college students.
Journal of College Student Development, 45, 119-133.
Boeringer, S. B. (1996). Influences of fraternity member-
ship, athletics, and male living arrangements on sexual
aggression. Violence Against Women, 2, 134-147.
Boeringer, S. B. (1999). Associations of rape-supportive
attitudes with fraternal and athletic participation.
Violence Against Women, 5, 81-90.
Bohner, G., Siebler, F., & Schmelcher, J. (2006). Social
norms and the likelihood of raping: Perceived rape
myth acceptance of others affects men’s rape proclivity.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 32, 286-297.
Bolzendahl, C. I., & Myers, D. J. (2004). Feminist attitudes
and support for gender equality: Opinion change in
women and men, 1974-1998. Social Forces, 83, 759-790.
Boswell, A. A., & Spade, J. Z. (1996). Fraternities and colle-
giate rape culture: Why are some fraternities more dan-
gerous places for women? Gender & Society, 10, 133-147.
Bryant, A. N. (2003). Changes in attitudes toward wom-
en’s roles: Predicting gender-role traditionalism among
college students. Sex Roles, 48, 131-142.
Burt, M. R. (1980). Cultural myths and supports for rape.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 38, 217-230.
Bush, D. M. (1992). Women’s movements and state policy
reform aimed at domestic violence against women: A
comparison of the consequences of movement mobiliza-
tion in the U.S. and India. Gender & Society, 6, 587-608.
Carlson, B. E., & Worden, A. P. (2005). Attitudes and
beliefs about domestic violence: Results of a public
opinion survey: I. definitions of domestic violence,
criminal domestic violence, and prevalence. Journal of
Interpersonal Violence, 20, 1197-1218.
Carr, J. L., & VanDeusen, K. M. (2002). The relationship
between family of origin violence and dating violence in
college men. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, 630-646.
Chng, C.L., & Burke, S. (1999). An assessment of college
students’ attitudes and empathy toward rape. College
Student Journal, 33, 573-583.
Ciabattari, T. (2001). Changes in men’s conservative gen-
der ideologies: Cohort and period influences. Gender &
Society, 15, 574-591.
Cousineau, M.-M., & Rondeau, G. (2004). Toward a trans-
national and cross-cultural analysis of family violence:
Issues and recommendations. Violence Against Women,
10, 935-949.
Cowan, G. (2000). Beliefs about the causes of four types of
rape. Sex Roles, 42, 807-823.
Davis, T., & Lee, C. (1996). Sexual assault: Myths and
stereotypes among Australian adolescents. Sex Roles,
34, 787-803.
children witnessing or experiencing violence. Key set-
tings include adolescent and particularly boys’ peer cul-
tures, the formal and informal settings of male university
colleges, sporting clubs, workplaces, military institutions,
and religious institutions. In relation to media, relevant
strategies include social marketing, education in media
literacy, and the regulation of media content.
u To prevent violence against women, we must not
only change attitudes but also address the structural
conditions that perpetuate violence.
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Davis, T. L., & Liddell, D. L. (2002). Getting inside the
house: The effectiveness of a rape prevention program
for college fraternity men. Journal of College Student
Development, 43, 35-50.
De Judicibus, M., & McCabe, M. P. (2001). Blaming the
target of sexual harassment: Impact of gender role, sex-
ist attitudes, and work role. Sex Roles, 44, 401-417.
DeKeseredy, W. S., & Kelly, K. (1995). Sexual abuse in
Canadian university and college dating relationships:
The contribution of male peer support. Journal of
Family Violence, 10, 41-53.
DeKeseredy, W. S., Schwartz, M. D., & Alvi, S. (2000). The
role of profeminist men in dealing with woman abuse
on the Canadian college campus. Violence Against
Women, 6, 918-935.
Donovan, R., &Vlais, R. (2005). VicHealth review of commu-
nication components of social marketing/public education
campaigns focused on violence against women. Melbourne,
Australia: Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.
Douki, S., Nacef, F., Belhadj, A., Bouasker, A., & Ghachem, R.
(2003). Violence against women in Arab and Islamic
countries. Archives of Women’s Mental Health, 6, 165-171.
Dugan, L. (2003). Domestic violence legislation: Exploring
its impact on the likelihood of domestic violence,
police involvement, and arrest. Criminology & Public
Policy, 2, 283-312.
Ely, G. E. (2004). Domestic violence and immigrant commu-
nities in the United States: A review of women’s unique
needs and recommendations for social work practice
and research. Stress, Trauma, and Crisis, 7, 223-241.
Ewoldt, C. A., Monson, C. M., & Langhinrichsen-Rohling, J.
(2000). Attributions about rape in a continuum of dis-
solving marital relationships. Journal of Interpersonal
Violence, 15, 1175-1182.
Felson, R., Messner, S., Hoskin, A., & Deane, G. (2002).
Reasons for reporting and not reporting domestic vio-
lence to the police. Criminology, 40, 617-647.
Flood, M. (2002). Pathways to manhood: The social and
sexual ordering of young men’s lives. Health Education
Australia, 2(2), 4-30.
Flood, M. (2005). Men’s collective struggles for gender
justice: The case of anti-violence activism. In M. Kimmel,
J. Hearn, & R. W. Connell (Eds.), The handbook of studies
on men and masculinities (pp. 458-466). Thousand Oaks,
Flood, M. (2005-2006). Changing men: Best practice in
sexual violence education. Women Against Violence,
18, 26-36.
Flood, M., & Hamilton, C. (2003, February). Youth and
pornography in Australia: Evidence on the extent of expo-
sure and likely effects (Discussion Paper No. 52).
Canberra, Australia: The Australia Institute.
Flood, M., & Pease, B. (2006). The factors influencing com-
munity attitudes in relation to violence against women: A
critical review of the literature. Melbourne, Australia:
Victorian Health Promotion Foundation.
Foulis, D., & McCabe, M. P. (1997). Sexual harassment:
Factors affecting attitudes and perceptions. Sex Roles,
37, 773-798.
Funk, J. B. (2002). Electronic games. In V. C. Strasburger &
B. J. Wilson (Eds.), Children, adolescents, & the media
(pp. 117-144). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Funk, J. B., Baldacci, H. B., Pasold, T., & Baumgardner, J.
(2004). Violence exposure in real-life, video games,
television, movies, and the Internet: Is there desensiti-
zation? Journal of Adolescence, 27, 23-39.
Gengler, S. W., & Lee, J. W. (2003). Catholic male priests,
Protestant female ministers and Protestant male minis-
ters. Journal of Religion & Abuse, 3(3), 41-52.
Gentile, D. A., & Anderson, C. A. (2006). Violent video
games: The effects on youth, and public policy implica-
tions. In N.E. Dowd, D.G. Singer, & R.F. Wilson (Eds.),
Handbook of Children, Culture, and Violence (pp. 225-246).
Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Giles, J. R., Curreen, H. M., & Adamson, C. E. (2005). The
social sanctioning of partner abuse: Perpetuating the
message that partner abuse is acceptable in New
Zealand. Social Policy Journal of New Zealand, 26,
Godenzi, A., Schwartz, M. D., & Dekeseredy, W. S. (2001).
Toward a gendered social bond/male peer support
theory of university woman abuse. Critical Criminology,
10(1), 1-16.
Golden, J. H., Johnson, C. A., & Lopez, R. A. (2001). Sexual
harassment in the workplace: Exploring the effects of
attractiveness on perception of harassment. Sex Roles,
45, 767-784.
Good, G. E., Heppner, M. J., Hillenbrand-Gunn, T. L., &
Wang, L. F. (1995). Sexual and psychological violence:
An exploratory study of predictors in college men.
Journal of Men’s Studies, 4, 59-71.
Hajjar, L. (2004). Religion, state power, and domestic vio-
lence in Muslim societies: A framework for compara-
tive analysis. Law & Social Inquiry, 29(1), 1-38.
Haj-Yahia, M. M. (2003). Beliefs about wife beating among
Arab men from Israel: The influence of their patriar-
chal ideology. Journal of Family Violence, 18, 193-205.
Hall, C. C. I., & Crum, M. J. (1994). Women and “body-
isms” in television beer commercials. Sex Roles, 31,
Harris, R. J., & Firestone, J. M. (1998). Changes in predic-
tors of gender role ideologies among women: A multi-
variate analysis. Sex Roles, 38, 239-252.
Harris, R. J., Firestone, J. M., & Vega, W. A. (2005). The
interaction of country of origin, acculturation, and
gender role ideology on wife abuse. Social Science
Quarterly, 86, 463-483.
Heaven, P. C. L., Connors, J., & Pretorius, A. (1998). Victim
characteristics and attribution of rape blame in
Australia and South Africa. Journal of Social Psychology,
138, 131-133.
Heise, L. L. (1998). Violence against women: An inte-
grated, ecological framework. Violence Against Women,
4, 262-290.
Hickman, L., & Simpson, S. S. (2003). Fair treatment or
preferred outcome? The impact of police behavior on
victim reports of domestic violence incidents. Law &
Society Review, 37, 649-676.
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
140 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
Hillier, L., & Foddy, M. (1993). The role of observer atti-
tudes in judgments of blame in cases of wife assault.
Sex Roles, 29, 629-644.
Hinck, S. S., & Thomas, R. W. (1999). Rape myth accep-
tance in college students: How far have we come? Sex
Roles, 40, 815-832.
Hird, M. J., & Jackson, S. (2001). Where “angels” and
“wusses” fear to tread: Sexual coercion in adolescent
dating relationships. Journal of Sociology, 37, 27-43.
Hogan, M. J. (2005). Adolescents and media violence: Six
crucial issues for practitioners. Adolescent Medicine
Clinics, 16, 249-268.
Humphrey, S. E., & Kahn, A. S. (2000). Fraternities,
athletic teams, and rape: Importance of identification
with a risky group. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 15,
Huesmann, L. R. (2007). The impact of electronic media
violence: scientific theory and research. Journal of
Adolescent Health, 41(6), s6-s13.
Hutchinson, R. L., Tess, D. E., Gleckman, A. D., Hagans,
C. L., & Reese, L. R. E. (1994). Students’ perceptions of
male sexually aggressive behavior as a function of
educational level and gender. Sex Roles, 30, 407-422.
Jaschik-Herman, M. L., & Fisk, A. (1995). Women’s per-
ceptions and labeling of sexual harassment in aca-
demia before and after the Hill-Thomas hearings. Sex
Roles, 33, 439-446.
Johnson, G. M., & Knight, R. A. (2000). Developmental
antecedents of sexual coercion in juvenile sexual offend-
ers. Sexual Abuse: A Journal of Research and Treatment,
12, 165-178.
Johnson, J. D., Adams, M. S., Ashburn, L., & Reed, W.
(1995). Differential gender effects of exposure to rap
music on African American adolescents’ acceptance of
teen dating violence. Sex Roles, 33, 597-605.
Johnson, J. D., Jackson, L. A., & Gatto, L. (1995). Violent
attitudes and deferred academic aspirations:
Deleterious effects of exposure to rap music. Basic and
Applied Social Psychology, 16, 27-41.
Kalof, L. (1999). The effects of gender and music video
imagery on sexual attitudes. Journal of Social Psychology,
139, 378-385.
Kennedy, M. A., & Gorzalka, B. B. (2002). Asian and non-
Asian attitudes toward rape, sexual harassment, and
sexuality. Sex Roles, 46, 227-238.
Kingsnorth, R., & MacIntosh, R. (2004). Domestic vio-
lence: Predictors of victim support for official action.
Justice Quarterly, 21, 301-328.
Kitzmann, K. M., Gaylord, N., Holt, A., & Kenny, E.
(2003). Child witnesses to domestic violence: A meta-
analytic review. Journal of Consulting and Clinical
Psychology, 71, 339-352.
Klein, E., Campbell, J., Soler, E., & Ghez, M. (1997). Ending
domestic violence: Changing public perceptions/halting the
epidemic. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Lanis, K., & Covell, K. (1995). Images of women in adver-
tisements: Effects on attitudes related to sexual aggres-
sion. Sex Roles, 32, 639-649.
LaRocca, M. A., & Kromrey, J. D. (1999). The perception of
sexual harassment in higher education: Impact of gen-
der and attractiveness. Sex Roles, 40, 921-940.
Larson, M. S. (2003). Gender, race, and aggression in
television commercials that feature children. Sex
Roles, 48, 67-75.
Lee, J., Pomeroy, E. C., Yoo, S.-K., & Rheinboldt, K. T.
(2005). Attitudes toward rape: A comparison between
Asian and Caucasian college students. Violence Against
Women, 11, 177-196.
Lichter, E. L., & McCloskey, L. A. (2004). The effects of
childhood exposure to marital violence on adolescent
gender-role beliefs and dating violence. Psychology of
Women Quarterly, 28, 344-357.
Lievore, D. (2003). Non-reporting and hidden reporting of
sexual assault: An international literature review. Canberra,
Australian: Australian Institute of Criminology.
Locke, L. M., & Richman, C. L. (1999). Attitudes toward
domestic violence: Race and gender issues. Sex Roles,
40, 227-247.
Malamuth, N., Addison, T., & Koss, M. (2000). Pornography
and sexual aggression: Are there reliable effects and
can we understand them? Annual Review of Sex Research,
11, 26-91.
Margolis, D. (1998). Culturally sanctioned violence against
women: A look at attitudes toward rape. Unpublished
doctoral dissertation, Graduate School of Education,
Boston College, Boston, MA.
Markowitz, F. E. (2001). Attitudes and family violence:
Linking intergenerational and cultural theories. Journal
of Family Violence, 16, 205-218.
Markowitz, F. E. (2003). Socioeconomic disadvantage and
violence: Recent research on culture and neighbor-
hood control as explanatory mechanisms. Aggression
and Violent Behavior, 8, 145-154.
Mori, L., Bernat, J. A., Glenn, P. A., Selle, L. L., & Zarate,
M. G. (1995). Attitudes toward rape: Gender and eth-
nic differences across Asian and Caucasian college
students. Sex Roles, 32, 457-467.
Murnen, S. K., & Kohlman, M. H. (2007). Athletic partici-
pation, fraternity membership, and sexual aggression
among college men: A meta-analytic review. Sex Roles,
57, 145-157.
Murnen, S. K., & Stockton, M. (1997). Gender and self-
reported sexual arousal in response to sexual stimuli: A
meta-analytic review. Sex Roles, 37, 135-153.
Murnen, S. K., Wright, C., & Kaluzny, G. (2002). If “boys
will be boys,” Then girls will be victims? A meta-
analytic review of the research that relates masculine
ideology to sexual aggression. Sex Roles, 46, 359-375.
Naeemah, A., Rachel, J., Ria, L., & Margaret, H. (2006).
Intimate partner violence: Prevalence and risk factors
for men in Cape Town, South Africa. Violence and
Victims, 21, 247-264.
Nagel, B., Matsuo, H., McIntyre, K. P., & Morrison, N.
(2005). Attitudes toward victims of rape: Effects of
gender, race, religion, and social class. Journal of
Interpersonal Violence, 20, 725-737.
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
Nason-Clark, N. (1997). The battered wife: How Christians
confront family violence. Louisville, KY: Westminster
John Knox Press.
National Crime Prevention. (2001). Young people & domes-
tic violence: National research on young people’s attitudes
and experiences of domestic violence. Canberra, Australia:
Crime Prevention Branch, Commonwealth Attorney-
General’s Department.
National Institute of Justice. (2004). Violence against women:
Identifying risk factors. Washington, DC: Office of Justice
Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.
Nayak, M. B., Byrne, C. A., Martin, M. K., & Abraham, A. G.
(2003). Attitudes toward violence against women: A
cross-nation study. Sex Roles, 49, 333-342.
Neville, H., Heppner, M., Oh, E., Spanierman, L., & Clark, M.
(2004). General and culturally specific factors influenc-
ing Black and White rape survivors’ self-esteem.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, 28, 83-94.
O’Neil, J. M., & Harway, M. (1997). A multivariate model
explaining men’s violence toward women: Predisposing
and triggering hypotheses. Violence Against Women,
3, 182-203.
Pavlou, M., & Knowles, A. (2001). Domestic violence:
Attributions, recommended punishments and report-
ing behaviour related to provocation by the victim.
Psychiatry, Psychology and Law, 8, 6-85.
Pease, B., & Flood, M. (in press). Rethinking the signifi-
cance of “attitudes” in challenging men’s violence
against women. Australian Journal of Social Issues.
People, J. (2005). Trends and patterns in domestic violence
assaults. Crime and Justice Bulletin, 89. Sydney, Australia:
NSW Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research.
Plummer, D. (1999). One of the boys: Masculinity, homophobia,
and modern manhood. New York: Harrington Park Press.
Reichert, T., & Carpenter, C. (2004). An update on sex in
magazine advertising: 1983 to 2003. Journalism and
Mass Communication Quarterly, 81, 823-837.
Reitzel-Jaffe, D., & Wolfe, D. A. (2001). Predictors of rela-
tionship abuse among young men. Journal of
Interpersonal Violence, 16, 99-115.
Riggs, D. S., Caulfield, M. B., & Street, A. E. (2000). Risk
for domestic violence: Factors associated with perpe-
tration and victimization. Journal of Clinical Psychology,
56, 1289-1316.
Rosen, L. N., Kaminski, R. J., Parmley, A. M., Knudson, K. H.,
& Fancher, P. (2003). The effects of peer group cli-
mate on intimate partner violence among married
male U.S. Army soldiers. Violence Against Women, 9,
Russo, A. (2001). Taking back our lives: A call to action for
the violence against women movement. New York:
Sakalh, N. (2001). Beliefs about wife beating among
Turkish college students: The effects of patriarchy, sex-
ism, and sex differences. Sex Roles, 44, 599-610.
Salazar, L. F., Baker, C. K., Price, A. W., & Carlin, K. (2003).
Moving beyond the individual: Examining the effects
of domestic violence policies on social norms. American
Journal of Community Psychology, 32, 253-264.
Sanday, P. R. (1996). Rape-prone versus rape-free campus
cultures. Violence Against Women, 2, 191-208.
Sawyer, R. G., Thompson, E. E., & Chicorelli, A. M. (2002).
Rape myth acceptance among intercollegiate student
athletes: A preliminary examination. American Journal
of Health Studies, 18(1), 19-25.
Schumacher, J., Feldbau-Kohn, S., Slep, A., & Heyman, R.
(2001). Risk factors for male-to-female partner physical
abuse. Aggression and Violent Behavior, 6, 281-352.
Schwartz, M. D., & DeKeseredy, W. S. (2000). Aggregation
bias and woman abuse: Variations by male peer support,
region, language, and school type. Journal of Interpersonal
Violence, 15, 555-565.
Schwartz, M., & DeKeseredy, W. (1997). Sexual assault on
the college campus: The role of male peer support. Thousand
Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Sellers, C. S., Cochran, J. K., & Branch, K. A. (2005). Social
learning theory and partner violence: A research note.
Deviant Behavior, 26, 379-395.
Shalhoub-Kevorkian, N. (1999). Towards a cultural defini-
tion of rape: Dilemmas in dealing with rape victims in
Palestinian society. Women’s Studies International Forum,
22, 157-173.
Sheldon, J. P., & Parent, S. L. (2002). Clergy’s attitudes and
attributions of blame toward female rape victims.
Violence Against Women, 8, 233-256.
Simonson, K., & Subich, L. M. (1999). Rape perceptions as
a function of gender-role traditionality and victim-
perpetrator association. Sex Roles, 40, 617-634.
Stalans, L., & Finn, M. (2000). Gender differences in offi-
cers’ perceptions and decisions about domestic vio-
lence cases. Women & Criminal Justice, 11(3), 1-24.
Steinmetz, S., & Haj-Yahia, M. M. (2006). Definitions of
and beliefs about wife abuse among ultra-Orthodox
Jewish men from Israel. Journal of Interpersonal Violence,
21, 525-554.
Stewart, A., & Maddren, K. (1997). Police officers’ judge-
ments of blame in family violence: The impact of gen-
der and alcohol. Sex Roles, 37, 921-933.
Strasburger, V., & Wilson, B. (Eds.) (2002). Children, adoles-
cents, & the media. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.
Straton, J. C. (2002). Rule of thumb versus rule of law. Men
and Masculinities, 5, 103-109.
Stubbs, J. (2003, February 12-14). Sexual assault, criminal
justice, and law and order. Paper presented to Practice
and Prevention: Contemporary Issues in Adult Sexual
Assault in New South Wales conference. Sydney,
Australia: University of Technology.
Tang, C. S.-K., & Cheung, F. M.-C. (1997). Effects of gender
and profession type on definitions of violence against
women in Hong Kong. Sex Roles, 36, 837-849.
Tolman, D. L., Spencer, R., Rosen-Reynoso, M., & Porche, M. V.
(2003). Sowing the seeds of violence in heterosexual
relationships: Early adolescents narrate compulsory
heterosexuality. Journal of Social Issues, 59, 159-178.
Truman, D. M., Tokar, D. M., & Fischer, A. R. (1996).
Dimensions of masculinity: Relations to date rape sup-
portive attitudes and sexual aggression in dating situa-
tions. Journal of Counseling and Development, 74, 555-562.
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
142 TRAUMA, VIOLENCE, & ABUSE / April 2009
Vandello, J. A., & Cohen, D. (2003). Male honor and
female fidelity: Implicit cultural scripts that perpetu-
ate domestic violence. Journal of Personality and Social
Psychology, 84, 997-1010.
Viki, G. T., & Abrams, D. (2002). But she was unfaithful:
Benevolent sexism and reactions to rape victims who
violate traditional gender role expectations. Sex Roles,
47, 289-293.
Wade, J., & Brittan-Powell, C. (2001). Men’s attitudes
toward race and gender equity: The importance of
masculinity ideology, gender-related traits, and refer-
ence group identity dependence. Psychology of Men and
Masculinity, 2(1), 42-50.
Ware, K. N., Levitt, H. M., & Bayer, G. (2004). May God
help you: Faith leaders’ perspectives of intimate part-
ner violence within their communities. Journal of
Religion & Abuse, 5(2), 55-81.
Wehbi, S. (2002). “Women with nothing to lose”:
Marriageability and women’s perceptions of rape and
consent in contemporary Beirut. Women’s Studies
International Forum, 25, 287-300.
West, A., & Wandrei, M. L. (2002). Intimate partner vio-
lence: A model for predicting interventions by informal
helpers. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 17, 972-986.
Whatley, M. A. (2005). The effect of participant sex, vic-
tim dress, and traditional attitudes on causal judg-
ments for marital rape victims. Journal of Family
Violence, 20, 191-200.
Whitaker, D. J., Morrison, S., Lindquist, C., Hawkins, S. R.,
O’Neil, J. A., Nesius, A. M., et al. (2006). A critical
review of interventions for the primary prevention of
perpetration of partner violence. Aggression and Violent
Behavior, 11, 151-166.
White, B. H., & Kurpius, S. E. R. (1999). Attitudes toward
rape victims: Effects of gender and professional status.
Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 14, 989-995.
White, B. H., & Kurpius, S. E. R. (2002). Effects of victim
sex and sexual orientation on perceptions of rape. Sex
Roles, 46, 191-200.
Workman, J. E., & Freeburg, E. W. (1999). An examina-
tion of date rape, victim dress, and perceiver vari-
ables within the context of attribution theory. Sex
Roles, 41, 261-277.
Xenos, S., & Smith, D. (2001). Perceptions of rape and sex-
ual assault among Australian adolescents and young
adults. Journal of Interpersonal Violence, 16, 1103-1119.
Yoshioka, M. R., DiNoia, J., & Ullah, K. (2001). Attitudes
toward marital violence: An examination of four Asian
communities. Violence Against Women, 7, 900-926.
Michael Flood is a research fellow at La Trobe
University in Melbourne, Australia, funded by the
Victorian Health Promotion Foundation (VicHealth). He
conducts research on violence prevention, men and gen-
der, male heterosexuality, fathering, and sexual and
reproductive health. He has published on how to engage
men in violence prevention, best practice in primary
prevention, and factors shaping violence-supportive atti-
tudes. He is also a trainer and community educator with
a long involvement in community advocacy and educa-
tion work focused on men’s violence against women. In
2006, he received a NSW Violence Against Women
Prevention Award for his role in raising community and
professional awareness of violence prevention.
Bob Pease is the chair of Social Work at Deakin
University in Melbourne, Australia. His main research
interests are in the fields of critical masculinity studies and
critical social work practice. In the former area, his specific
research focus is on men’s violence against women, cross-
cultural and global perspectives on men and masculinities,
and post-Vietnam military masculinities. In the latter area,
he is interested in the application of critical theories to pro-
gressive social work practice and profeminist approaches to
working with men in the human services. His most recent
books are International Encyclopedia of Men and
Masculinities (coedited, Routledge, 2007), Critical Social
Work Practice (coedited, Allen and Unwin, 2003), and
Men and Gender Relations (Tertiary Press, 2002). He is
currently coediting a book titled Migrant Men: Critical
Studies of Masculinities and the Migration Experience
and writing a book titled Undoing Privilege: Facing the
Predicament of Unearned Advantages.
at La Trobe University on July 30, 2009 http://tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from
... Gender is an underlying factor in the acceptance of intimate partner violence against women [2,16,29]. For instance, in countries with higher societal acceptance of intimate partner violence, women were more likely than men to justify intimate partner violence. ...
... For example, in Guinea and Niger, women were almost 6 and 4 times more likely than men to justify intimate partner violence, respectively [16]. In a patriarchal society, women are frequently socialized to accept abuse as a kind of conflict resolution or as a form of punishment for disobedience [16,24,27,29]. In Eswatini and elsewhere in Africa, the acceptability of intimate partner abuse is quite common among women, especially among those underprivileged [26,[30][31][32]. ...
... Our current study adapts the social-ecological and resource theories in a multilevel framework to assess the socioeconomic status predictors underlying the acceptability of intimate partner violence among women in Eswatini between 2010 and 2014. Examining attitudes justifying intimate partner violence against women is of sheer importance since affirming or rejecting such attitudes nourishes the ecosystem in which violence takes place [24,29]. ...
Full-text available
Introduction Attitudes supportive of spousal violence retards developmental efforts worldwide, and in particular in patriarchal African settings. It is important to curb this behavior by designing preventative evidence-based policies. This study examines the acceptance of intimate partner violence among women residing in Eswatini and determines whether attitudes supportive of intimate partner violence are associated with women’s low socioeconomic status both at the individual- and community-level. Methods Cross-sectional secondary data from two Eswatini Multiple Indicator Cluster Surveys (MICS) conducted in 2010 and 2014 with representative samples of 4,686 and 4,761 women, respectively were analyzed using descriptive statistics and multilevel (random effect) logistic regressions. Results Overall, the prevalence of acceptance of intimate partner violence declined significantly between 2010 and 2014 in Eswatini (29.0% vs. 19.8%, p<0.001). In both surveys, socioeconomic factors associated with women’s supportive attitudes toward intimate partner violence were educational level, marital structure, and community socioeconomic disadvantage. Overall, primary or lower educational attainment, single/unmarried relationships, and women living in a community with a high socioeconomic disadvantage were key factors associated with supportive attitudes toward intimate partner violence. Conclusions Secondary or higher education for individual women and a high proportion of women in the community with low socioeconomic disadvantage are important socioeconomic predictors of reducing women’s supportive attitudes toward intimate partner violence. Therefore, further gains in non-supportive attitudes toward acceptance of intimate partner violence could be achieved through efforts and intervention in the education of individual women and improving women’s socioeconomic status in the community.
... One in three women experienced physical or sexual violence from an intimate partner at least once in her lifetime globally (Garcia-Moreno et al., 2006;Stöckl et al., 2014). Attitudinal acceptance of wife abuse (AAWA) is one of the noteworthy factors that foster the high prevalence of wife abuse and promote responses of the victims and community (Flood & Pease, 2009;Sambisa et al., 2010;Sardinha & Catalán, 2018). AAWA refers to the justification of the act of wife abuse under some conditions or issues where the respondents might refuse or justify a husband's perceived right to abuse his wife (Hossain et al., 2022;Karim et al., 2020;Sayem et al., 2012). ...
... Different types of wife abuse are justified as normal behavior and perceived necessary for family well-being in rural Bangladesh when a wife argues or disobeys her husband (Biswas et al., 2017;Islam & Karim, 2013). Most studies explored the prevalence of AAWA (Garcia-Moreno et al., 2006;Rani & Bonu, 2008;Sardinha & Catalán, 2018;Schuler & Islam, 2008), but a few studies focused on the factors influencing AAWA in rural Bangladesh (Biswas et al., 2017;Dey et al., 2021;Flood & Pease, 2009;Hossain et al., 2022;Jesmin, 2015Jesmin, , 2017Karim et al., 2020;. Karim et al. (2020) explored the ethnic differences of AAWA among Bengali, Santal, and Garo communities based on three dimensions of AAWA following a 10-item scale. ...
... Several previous studies that showed women's autonomy, mobility, and socioeconomic status are influential factors in the acceptance or refusal of abuse (Islam et al., 2014;Jesmin, 2015Jesmin, , 2017 which support these findings. Flood and Pease (2009) stated that there is a strong likelihood that women's mobility would make a meaningful difference in society's perception of abuse. This result indicates that women's high social mobility decreases the likelihood of different dimensions of AAWA in rural Bangladesh. ...
Full-text available
Previous studies exploring the influential factors associated with attitudinal acceptance of wife abuse (AAWA) did not widely focus on the relation between women's social mobility (WSM) and different dimensions of AAWA in rural Bangladesh. This current study examined the association between WSM and different dimensions of AAWA in the context of socio-cultural differences among the Bengali, the Santal, and the Garo ethnic communities in rural Bangladesh. Adopting a cross-sectional design, 1,929 married men and women were randomly included in the study from 8 Bengali, 8 Santal, and 8 Garo villages where 50.2% were women and 49.8% were men. Of the sample, 33.2% Garo, 33.2% Santal, and 33.6% Bengali participants were included in this study. Data revealed that 45.5% of women had low social mobility and the prevalence of different dimensions of AAWA was high and varied among the study communities. We used descriptive statistics, chi-square, and binary logistic regression analysis to estimate the association. The multivariate binary logistic regression analysis results revealed that the likelihood of attitudinal acceptance of overall abuse, psychological abuse, physical abuse, abuse on disobeying family obligation, and abuse on challenging male authority were significantly lower for the respondents who belonged to families where women enjoyed high mobility compared to those who belonged to families where WSM was low. This study also showed that the Bengali and the Santal participants were more likely to accept different dimensions of AAWA compared to the Garos. This study suggests that WSM should be considered in policy-making and implementing interventions to reduce the different dimensions of AAWA in rural Bangladesh.
... No attempt has been made to suggest that activism and feminism haven't advanced in Africa in recent decades in terms of reducing violence against women (Ellsberg & Heise, 2005;Flood, 2005;Flood & Pease, 2009). Rights groups, based on the feminist perspective, have attempted to raise the consciousness of women and to realign their attitude toward socio-culturally sanctioned suppression. ...
... Research shows that, attitudes to and a perception of violence against women is one of the most difficult concerns in dealing with gender-based violence (Chukwu et al., 2014;Metaj-Stojanova, 2017). Attitude has been a major source of concern since it influences the perpetration of violence, victims' reactions to victimization, and community responses to violence against women (Flood & Pease, 2009). Scholars have similarly expressed the concern that perceptions of violence as a private affair affects attitudes to violence against women, pointing to silence and low exposure to antiviolence measures as critical enemies (Chukwu et al., 2014;Ellsberg & Heise, 2005;Flood, 2005;Flood & Pease, 2009;Hornik & Yanovitzky, 2003;Metaj-Stojanova, 2017). ...
... Attitude has been a major source of concern since it influences the perpetration of violence, victims' reactions to victimization, and community responses to violence against women (Flood & Pease, 2009). Scholars have similarly expressed the concern that perceptions of violence as a private affair affects attitudes to violence against women, pointing to silence and low exposure to antiviolence measures as critical enemies (Chukwu et al., 2014;Ellsberg & Heise, 2005;Flood, 2005;Flood & Pease, 2009;Hornik & Yanovitzky, 2003;Metaj-Stojanova, 2017). ...
Full-text available
This study focuses on knowledge and attitudes toward media campaigns on gender-based violence against women in Southeast, Nigeria. To achieve this, the study examined the level of exposure, cognitive status as well as determinants of attitudes toward gender-based victimization. It was found that social economic facets like academic achievement, religion, cultural factors among others affect attitude toward gender based violence. It was recommended that a clear understanding of the relationship between dominant cultures and suppression of women should inform future campaigns on gender-based violence.
... IPVAW is a complex phenomenon with individual, relational, community, and macrosocial level explanatory factors (Hardesty & Ogolsky, 2020;Heise, 1998Heise, , 2011WHO, 2002). By facilitating or reducing this type of violence, attitudes toward IPVAW are a key factor in shaping the sociocultural context in which IPVAW occurs (Campbell & Manganello, 2006;Flood & Pease, 2009;Gracia, 2022;Gracia et al., 2020;Villagrán et al., 2022). Moreover, attitudes toward intimate partner violence are increasingly recognized as a central issue for better understanding IPVAW, the social conditions that contribute to its prevalence, deterrence, and social control (Capaldi et al., 2012;Gracia et al., 2009Gracia et al., , 2018Herrero et al., 2017). ...
... Moreover, attitudes toward intimate partner violence are increasingly recognized as a central issue for better understanding IPVAW, the social conditions that contribute to its prevalence, deterrence, and social control (Capaldi et al., 2012;Gracia et al., 2009Gracia et al., , 2018Herrero et al., 2017). Research shows that attitudes that tolerate, justify, or legitimize IPVAW are closely related to perpetration, women's responses to their victimization, help-seeking behavior, and general societal responses to this type of violence (Bonilla-Algovia & Rivas-Rivero, 2019; Flood & Pease, 2009;Gracia, 2014;Martín-Fernández et al., 2018, 2022Sardinha & Catalán, 2018). Therefore, thoroughly analyzing and understanding the attitudes toward IPVAW can help in guiding the development of better targeted initiatives to prevent and reduce the prevalence of IPVAW (Flood & Pease, 2009;García-Moreno et al., 2015;Gracia, 2022). ...
... Research shows that attitudes that tolerate, justify, or legitimize IPVAW are closely related to perpetration, women's responses to their victimization, help-seeking behavior, and general societal responses to this type of violence (Bonilla-Algovia & Rivas-Rivero, 2019; Flood & Pease, 2009;Gracia, 2014;Martín-Fernández et al., 2018, 2022Sardinha & Catalán, 2018). Therefore, thoroughly analyzing and understanding the attitudes toward IPVAW can help in guiding the development of better targeted initiatives to prevent and reduce the prevalence of IPVAW (Flood & Pease, 2009;García-Moreno et al., 2015;Gracia, 2022). ...
Attitudes toward intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) are being increasingly recognized as a central issue for comprehensively understanding this complex phenomenon. While IPVAW remains widespread in Latin America, knowledge about it and research on attitudes toward IPVAW are limited. This systematic review synthesized quantitative peer-reviewed studies that address attitudes toward IPVAW in Latin America. The review was conducted between April 2020 and July 2022 in accordance with the Preferred Reporting Items for Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses recommendations using the Web of Science, Scopus, and PsycINFO databases. In total, 52 of the 149 eligible articles were selected based on the inclusion criteria. Four sets of attitudes toward IPVAW were identified: legitimacy, acceptability, attitudes toward the intervention, and perceived severity. Attitude correlates were the most common research topic in more than half of the studies but were generally focused on a single country. Among the few multi-country studies, the sample of Latin American countries was small. The remaining studies were divided into three research themes: attitude as a predictor, interventions for attitude change, and scale validation. Our study aims to motivate future research on the identified knowledge gaps and may be useful for the implementation of appropriate prevention policies and intervention programs to counter IPVAW on a regional scale.
... Alongside individual characteristics of perpetrators and victims, there are structural, social and ideological factors (Flood & Pease, 2009): men and women have always had and continue to have an unequal social status, and sexism is one of the social ideologies that support this inequality (Swim & Campbell, 2003) and predicts violence against women (De Koker, Mathews, Zuch, Bastien, & Mason-Jones, 2014). ...
... This result, though, is consistent with previous studies and shows that attitudes about gender roles affect and change the understanding of violence against women (Flood & Pease, 2009;Rollero, Bergagna, & Tartaglia, 2021) in both males and females. ...
Full-text available
Discriminatory attitudes towards women are still widespread and have also pervaded the digital world. They are often connected with the propensity to view and treat women as sexual objects, which sometimes leads to negative and harmful behaviours, such as the sharing of intimate images without the partner's consent. The present study aims at investigating the non‐consensual sharing of intimate images in relation to benevolent and hostile sexism, direct and mediated by female sexual objectification. The sample was recruited through the snowball sampling technique and was made up of 2,305 young Italian adults aged between 18 and 35. Analysis was carried out using structural equation modelling and the multigroup mediation model, allowing us to detect any gender differences. For both, males and females, results show that benevolent sexism has neither a direct nor indirect correlation with non‐consensual sharing of sexts. Instead, hostile sexism has an indirect relation with non‐consensual sharing mediated by the sexual objectification of the woman's body. Results do not show differences between male and female groups and highlight the need to focus on the socio‐cultural context that enables the non‐consensual sharing of intimate images, which is a variety of cyberviolence against women. Practical implications of the results will be extensively discussed. Please refer to the Supplementary Material section to find this article's Community and Social Impact Statement .
... Literatürde aile içi Ģiddet ve nedenlerinin (8,9), eğitim düzeyi ile Ģiddetin araĢtırıldığı (10), lise ve üniversite öğrencilerinin Ģiddet konusundaki düĢüncelerinin belirlendiği (11,12,13), kadına yönelik Ģiddete yönelik tutumların belirlendiği (7,14) ...
Full-text available
Z Bu araştırma, üniversite öğrencilerinin kadına yönelik şiddete ilişkin tutumlarını ve ilişkili faktörleri belirlemek amacıyla yapılmıştır. Araştırma kesitsel ve tanımlayıcı tipte tasarlanmış olup, araştırmanın evrenini 2022-2023 yılında Tokat Gaziosmanpaşa Üniversitesi'nde öğrenim gören tüm fakülte, yüksekokul ve meslek yüksekokullarındaki 26767 öğrenci oluşturmuş, örneklemi ise araştırmaya katılmayı kabul eden ve dönüş sağlayan 877 öğrenci oluşturmuştur. Veriler araştırmacılar tarafından oluşturulan Kişisel Bilgi Formu ve İSKEBE Tutum Ölçeği kullanılarak toplanmıştır. Verilerin değerlendirilmesinde tanımlayıcı istatistikler, Kruskal Wallis, t testi, One-Way ANOVA ve Tukey HSD kullanılmıştır. Öğrencilerin %79.5'inin kadın olduğu, %37.5'i birinci sınıfta okuduğu, %60.3'ünün gelir durumunun giderine denk olduğu, %51.5'inin en uzun süre İl'de ikamet ettiği, %78.4'ünün çekirdek aileye sahip olduğu, %60.2'sinin kişilik özelliğini değişken olarak tanımladığı belirlenmiştir. Öğrencilerin %61'inin şiddete tanık olduğu, %45.8'i şiddete ve %33.1'i duygusal/psikolojik şiddete maruz kaldığı, %21.2'si şiddete maruz kaldığında sessiz kalacağı tespit edilmiştir. Ayrıca öğrencilerin İSKEBE tutum ölçeği puan ortalamasının 132.19±15.86, bedene yönelik tutumlar alt boyut puan ortalamasının 76.16±5.97 ve kimliğe yönelik tutumlar alt boyut puan ortalamasının 56.03±11.18 olduğu görülmüştür. Öğrencilerin cinsiyet, gelir durumu, yaşanılan yer ve aile tipi ile kadına yönelik şiddet tutumları arasında anlamlı bir ilişki saptanmıştır (p<0.005). Öğrencilerin şiddete yönelik tutumlarının genel olarak olumlu olduğu tespit edilmiştir. Erkek öğrencilerin, gelir durumu düşük, köy/kasabada yaşayan, geniş aileye sahip öğrencilerin şiddet tutumlarının daha olumsuz olduğu belirlenmiştir.
... The acceptance of myths about IPVAW has also been associated with different dimensions of violence against women (Flood & Pease, 2009;Megías et al., 2018) and sexism (León & Aizpurúa, 2021). However, to the best of our knowledge, no studies have examined the role of these myths in the perceived severity of IPVAW when multiple characteristics of the incidents are manipulated. ...
Public perceptions of the severity of intimate partner violence against women (IPVAW) play a crucial role in its prevention. This study examines the impact of multiple factors related to the scenario and respondent characteristics on the perceived severity of IPVAW. To achieve this, a factorial survey design was implemented using a non-probability-based sample in Spain ( N = 1007). The results indicate that 90.3% of respondents rated the scenario as severe. The perceived severity was influenced by both the details of the scenario and the characteristics of the respondents. These findings can inform the design of targeted awareness campaigns.
... Similarly, in a study that assessed perceptions of factors contributing to IPVAW among the Sri Lankan immigrant community in Canada found that many women associated IPVAW with gender inequality and financial dependence of their male partners, suggesting that female status changes were important in preventing IPVAW (Hyman et al., 2011). These findings are in line with research that suggests that views about any type of women abuse are linked to ideas about traditional gender roles that give men the power to dominate women (e.g., Flood & Pease, 2009). ...
Cinsiyetçilik uluslararası düzeyde görülen ve olumsuz sonuçları kadına şiddete kadar ulaşabilen bir kavramdır. Bu gözden geçirme çalışmasının amacı cinsiyetçiliği azaltmaya yönelik müdahale çalışmalarında kullanılan farklı yöntemleri ve bu çalışmaların sonuçlarını anlamaya yönelik genel bir çerçeve sunmaktır. Literatürde incelenmiş birçok müdahale çalışması bulunmasına rağmen, sosyal bilişsel kuram (SBK, Bandura, 1986) bu zamana dek cinsiyetçiliği azaltmaya yönelik başarılı müdahale çalışmalarındaki süreci anlamlandırabilmek için hiç kullanılmamıştır. Bu kuramda kişisel faktörler, davranış kalıpları ve çevresel etkiler etkileşim halindedir. SBK, bireylerin bir konuda değişim sağlayabilmek için öz yeterlik hissettikleri oranda motive olduklarını vurgulamaktadır. Bu bağlamda SBK, müdahale çalışmalarının altında yatan mekanizmayı anlamak için kullanılabilir. Bu çerçevede bu inceleme makalesinde öncelikle cinsiyetçilik ve cinsiyetçiliği azaltmaya yönelik müdahale çalışmaları ile ilgili yazın taranıp sunulacaktır. Ardından SBK temel yönleriyle açıklanacak ve SBK ya dayanılarak cinsiyetçiliği azaltmaya yönelik yeni bir müdahale çalışması modeli sunulacaktır. Tartışma kısmından önce de SBK nin cinsiyetçiliği azaltmaya yönelik müdahale çalışmalarının altında yatan mekanizmayı anlamak için nasıl kullanılacağı anlatılacaktır.
Full-text available
Using data from a Canadian national representative sample survey of male university and college students, this study tested three hypotheses from a theoretical model which attempts to explain the relationship between male peer group dynamics and sexual assault in dating relationships. Consistent with previous research conducted in the United States, the findings reported here show that male peer support is a significant predictor of sexual abuse in post-secondary school courtship. This article concludes with several suggestions for further research.
Full-text available
One of the Boys: Masculinity, Homophobia, and Modern Manhood takes a fresh look at the formation of modern male sexual identities. You will find that homophobia is not only widespread, but that it takes diverse forms and has far-reaching behavioral and social consequences. The new concept of “homophobic passage,” which is part of the development of all young men, will enlighten you as to the proposed “causes” of homosexuality and heterosexuality. One of the Boys will help you discover how the passage of young males from childhood to adulthood plays an important role in formation of the modern adult male self in gay and straight men. As a result, this knowledge will allow you to offer relevant services to clients who are struggling with societal stereotypes and identity issues. From this informative book, you will discover how homophobia plays a role in the increase in violence experienced by gay men and lesbians in our culture today. To help you offer improved services, One of the Boys discusses why homophobia is widespread, takes diverse forms, and has far-reaching behavioral and social consequences by: examining the school playground and its many effects on children’s peer groups to discover how profoundly names like “crybaby” and “poofter” can impact a child’s development learning that children often cannot escape harmful labels and stereotypes at home and realizing how it impacts a child’s developing sense of self discovering the media’s influence on role models and realizing the important role television and magazines play in providing information about homosexuality and homophobia realizing the heavy pressure homophobia exerts on men and how it shapes their relationships with women and other men, how emotionally close they allow themselves to get to people, how affectionate they are, and with whom they have sexual relations Through One of the Boys, you will gain valuable insight into the masculinity of the men interviewed and how it was shaped in order for you to develop a greater understanding of men and the many influences of society as a whole. This unique study investigates the development of homophobia and the meanings and significances people associate with it to help you understand how and where homophobia originates in our society.
To be effective, criminal justice policies should affect the underlying social norms for which the policies were enacted. This study sought to determine whether public perceptionsof criminal justice policies on domestic violence affected social norms. Two waves of data were collected via a telephone survey where a random probability sample of 973 residents was drawn from 4 communities. A structural equation model was tested and confirmed. Results provided strong support for the hypothesis that perceptions of criminal justice policies have direct effects on attitudes toward criminal justice response, and indirect effects on victim‐blaming attitudes, both underlying social norms related to domestic violence. The enactment of criminal justice policies, therefore, may have an impact beyond victims and perpetrators and lead to a transformation of the community through the emergence of new social norms. Public awareness campaigns designed to disseminate criminal justice policies may be instrumental in provoking social change.
Two popular explanations for rape exist in our culture - rape as motivated by either sex or by power. The present study investigated participants' beliefs about rape motivation in the context of both female and male rape. College students were administered a version of Feild's (1978) Attitudes Toward Rape (ATR) scale, which incorporates beliefs about rape motivation. A Three-Factor ANOVA revealed two significant main effects but no significant interactions. Findings showed that participants believed both female and male rape to be motivated by sex to a greater extent than by power. In addition, men endorsed the view that rape is motivated by both sex and power to a greater extent than women. The implications of these findings for beliefs about both female and male sexual violence, particularly in the context of recent controversial evolutionary debates about the psychology of sexual violence and motivation for rape (e.g., Thornhill 2000) are discussed.
Men's gender ideologies have changed more slowly than women's since the 1970s; this article analyzes the period and cohort processes that underlie men's attitude change and how the individual-level characteristics of conservative men differ by birth cohort. Using multidimensional measures of gender role attitudes from the 1974-1998 General Social Surveys, the author finds that changes in men's attitudes have been brought about both by period influences, especially during the 1970s, and by cohort replacement. Analyses of multivariate interaction effects demonstrate that education has become a much less significant predictor of attitudes for men born after 1945.
An understanding of attitudes toward violence against women is vital for effective prevention strategies. In this study we examined attitudes regarding violence against women in samples of undergraduate women and men students from four countries: India, Japan, Kuwait, and the United States. Attitudes toward sexual assault and spousal physical violence differed between men and women and across the four countries. Variations in gender differences across countries indicated that, for attitudes regarding sexual assault of women in particular, sociocultural factors may be a stronger influence than gender. Findings suggest the importance of examining differences within the larger sociocultural context of political, historical, religious, and economic influences on attitudes toward gender roles and violence against women.