The Alberta Council of Women’s Shelters recently conducted a poll to gauge men’s attitudes towards women’s equality, and how men can better prevent violence against women. As reported by the Huffington Post, some of the answers reveal that a significant percentage of men, of the ones polled here at least, still possess all too common victim-blaming attitudes when it comes to rape and violence against women. 40% of the respondents agreed with the statement that: “If a woman wears provocative clothing, she’s putting herself at risk for rape” and 52% agreed that: “Most women could leave a violent relationship if they really wanted to.” When it comes to rape and domestic violence, these are perhaps two of the biggest prevailing myths, myths that make it difficult for women facing abuse to seek help.
Some answers reveal healthier attitudes, however. The statement, “Men and boys should speak out against violence against women” received a 9 out of 10 in terms of importance and 56% believed that men and boys are more aware than they were five years ago of the issues surrounding violence agaisnt women. The poll also says that “95% of men feel that violence against women and girls is a concern to them”, and “99% agree that ‘men can personally make a difference in promoting healthy, respectful, non-violent relationships.’”
The poll often takes a yes or no, agree/disagree, essentially black and white format. It is incredibly difficult to gauge attitudes towards violence in a poll, but it would be interesting to see a poll that used a different approach. Perhaps the men’s answers would be different if they were asked about violence against men and boys, or violence that is gender-based but not necessarily against women.
Nonetheless, understanding men’s attitudes towards violence against women is crucial in fighting such violence. As reported by the Huffington Post, the ACWS hopes to take the results to make an impact for the better:
“This is where we’re at,” ACWS provincial co-ordinator Jan Reimer told Postmedia News. “We’ve got a realistic appraisal here, so now let’s take what we know and see how we can make a difference to make things better.”
Full results of the poll here
Thanks to Andrew for the tip.