The relationship between awareness of violence against women prevention campaigns and gender attitudes and talking about violence among women in Gauteng
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Mataba, Rumbidzayi B
Introduction: Gender based violence (GBV) is a public health problem with as many as 35% of women having been subjected to either physical and or sexual violence globally. Gender attitudes and silence around gender based violence, are factors that exacerbate GBV. Global and local awareness campaigns are means for preventing violence against women. Campaigns have the potential to challenge women and men’s underlying gender beliefs and attitudes that contribute to unequal power relations between women and men. The overall objective of this study was to examine the association between awareness campaigns and gender attitudes or talking about domestic violence among women in Gauteng, South Africa. Materials and Methods: This study is a secondary analysis of data from a cross-sectional study conducted in Gauteng, South Africa from April to July 2010. The study aimed to describe the prevalence and patterns of experiences of GBV, HIV risk, gender attitude and awareness of GBV prevention campaigns in Gauteng. The main exposure variable in this study is having heard about 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign and the 365 Days National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence. The two primary outcomes are gender attitudes and discussing about domestic violence. Gender attitudes were measured using three scales: the Gender Equitable Women’s Scale, the Ideas about Gender Relations Scale and the Ideas about Rape Scale. Univariate analysis was conducted to describe the socio-demographic characteristics, awareness of campaigns, gender attitudes and talking about domestic violence among the participants. Multivariate analysis was conducted to examine the associations between awareness of campaigns and the outcomes while adjusting for age, education, employment, nationality, race and relationship status. Results: The results show that only a minority of the participants had heard of the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign (32.6%) and the 365 Days National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence (9.2%) campaigns. Most of the participants had progressive gender attitudes; GEWS (71.7%), IGRS (82.1%) and the IRS (88.1%) while less than half (48.7%) had spoken about domestic violence to someone else. Women who were exposed to the 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign were twice as likely to have progressive gender attitudes measured by the Gender Equitable Women’s Scale (aOR 2.2, 95% CI 1.2-3.8) compared to those who had not been exposed. Education, relationship status and nationality were found to be significantly associated with gender attitudes on the same scale. No association was found between awareness of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign and gender attitudes measured through the Ideas about Gender Relations Scale and the Ideas about Rape Scale. Awareness of 16 Days of Activism for No Violence Against Women and Children campaign was also associated with talking about domestic violence (aOR 1.9, 95% CI 1.2 - 3.0). Age and education were also significantly associated with talking about domestic violence. Gender attitudes were also significantly associated with talking about domestic violence (aOR 1.2 95% CI 1.1 – 3.6). No association was found between exposure to the 365 Days National Action Plan to End Gender Based Violence and gender attitudes or talking about domestic violence. Conclusions: From this study, the majority of the women interviewed had progressive gender attitudes. However, the majority of the women had never spoken about domestic violence to someone else. Women exposed to GBV campaigns had more progressive gender attitudes and spoke about domestic violence more than those who were not exposed. These findings are evidence to the need for wider coverage and different messaging approaches in the implementation of GBV campaigns in South Africa. Wider coverage of campaigns is only possible with more funding for national, provincial and local GBV programmes. Key messages in GBV campaigns need to include a priority focus on addressing the underlying social and cultural norms that contribute to the imbalances of power due to gender difference.
A research report submitted to the School of Public Health, University of the Witwatersrand in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Public Health. Date: 17 March 2016