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http://tva.sagepub.com/ Trauma, Violence, & Abuse http://tva.sagepub.com/content/10/2/125 The online version of this article can be found at:   DOI: 10.1177/1524838009334131 2009 10: 125 originally published online 20 April 2009 Trauma Violence Abuse Michael Flood and Bob Pease Factors Influencing Attitudes to Violence Against Women     Published by: http://www.sagepublications.com can be found at: Trauma, Violence, & Abuse Additional services and information for         http://tva.s
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    http://tva.sagepub.com/  Trauma, Violence, & Abuse  http://tva.sagepub.com/content/10/2/125The online version of this article can be found at: DOI: 10.1177/1524838009334131 2009 10: 125 srcinally published online 20 April 2009 Trauma Violence Abuse  Michael Flood and Bob Pease Factors Influencing Attitudes to Violence Against Women  Published by:  http://www.sagepublications.com  can be found at: Trauma, Violence, & Abuse  Additional services and information for http://tva.sagepub.com/cgi/alerts Email Alerts:  http://tva.sagepub.com/subscriptions Subscriptions: http://www.sagepub.com/journalsReprints.nav Reprints:  http://www.sagepub.com/journalsPermissions.nav Permissions: http://tva.sagepub.com/content/10/2/125.refs.html Citations: What is This? - Apr 20, 2009OnlineFirst Version of Record - May 15, 2009Version of Record >>  at UNIV OF KENTUCKY on March 26, 2013tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from   125 FACTORS INFLUENCING ATTITUDES TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN MICHAEL FLOOD La Trobe University, Australia  BOB PEASE 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 125-142DOI: 10.1177/1524838009334131© 2009 SAGE Publications  at UNIV OF KENTUCKY on March 26, 2013tva.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 RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN ATTITUDES AND VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 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 KEY POINTS OF THE RESEARCH REVIEW · 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. · Attitudes toward violence against women are formed by a wide range of social processes at multiple levels of the social order. · Key influences on attitudes at multiple levels include gender roles and relations and other forms of social difference associated with ethnicity and class. · 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 UNIV OF KENTUCKY on March 26, 2013tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from   Flood, Pease / ATTITUDES TO VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN 127 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., 2004).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? GENDER AND ATTITUDES 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 UNIV OF KENTUCKY on March 26, 2013tva.sagepub.comDownloaded from 

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