Globally, the highest rates of intimate partner violence (IPV) are reported in Southeast Asia. In India, IPV is intensifying in peri-urban areas where over half of the population lives, exacerbated by growing income inequalities and rapid social change. Given that an average of 35% of ever-married women in India have experienced IPV and its many public health sequelae, it is critical to understand the attitudes held by boys, girls, men, and women that may contribute to IPV. The University of Iowa (Department of Community and Behavioral Health) is collaborating with the Saint John?s Medical College (Department of Community Health) in Bangalore to generate evidence about IPV and develop male-focused strategies to reduce IPV in India?s peri- urban settings. The collaboration is addressing the urgent need to work with early adolescent boys their male role models to reshape ideologies about gender roles and masculinity. Focusing on two peri-urban catchment areas in southeast Bangalore district, the two-year, mixed-method project will 1) assess attitudes and behaviors related to gender roles, masculinity, social capital, and violence against women among couples; 2) explore the attitudes of boys, girls, men, and women related to gender norms; and 3) build the institutional capacity of Saint John's Medical College to address violence against women in their research and medical training. The University of Iowa and St. John?s Medical College will use the findings from the two-year project to develop and test an intervention focused on transforming gender norms and reducing violence against women by working with boys and male role models.
For Specific Aim 1, we will use qualitative methods to cognitively validate a survey instrument using existing measures for gender roles, masculinity, social capital, and violence against women, including items from the Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) and the Gender Equitable Men (GEM) scale. We will then randomly sample 528 couples (ages 18-49) and administer the new quantitative survey simultaneously and separately to men and women.
For Specific Aim 2, we will use qualitative methods to elucidate our findings from the quantitative survey, with a focus on the relationship between gender norms and IPV. We will focus on men and women (ages 18-49), and boys and girls (ages 10-14), by conducting 60 in-depth interviews and 12 focus group discussions to explore gender norms and identify male role models. Joint implementation by the two institutions?building on the University of Iowa?s key strengths in violence prevention, program design and evaluation, and gender roles related to women?s health?will build research and intervention capacity at St. John?s Medical College, while St. John?s contextual expertise will strengthen the University of Iowa?s cultural competency and understanding of violence-related injury in the peri-urban Indian context.

Public Health Relevance

Intimate partner violence (IPV) is the most common form of gender-based violence, with very high rates of IPV in Southeast Asia. In India, where an average of 35% of ever-married women have experienced IPV, the public health burden?which includes injury, depression, psychosocial stress, sexually transmitted diseases, adverse pregnancy outcomes, and death?is particularly heavy in the country?s rapidly growing and socioeconomically divided peri-urban areas. Peri-urban communities in India can benefit from studies that contribute to the development of culturally appropriate, male-focused interventions to transform gender norms and reduce violence against women and girls.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
Fogarty International Center (FIC)
Exploratory/Developmental Grants (R21)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZRG1)
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Levintova, Marya
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University of Iowa
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Public Health
Iowa City
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