Scottish Study: Young Students Support Violence Against Women and Sexist Gender Roles

The BBC reported on a study from Edinburgh Napier University in Scotland a few months back. We had to post it anyways – even if we’re a little behind, the article  is definitely still current and relevant (and horrifying).

The study, which questioned students aged 11-12, found that most of the children thought violence towards women was acceptable if there was a reason behind it.

[The students] were asked to consider whether or not a man was justified in punching his partner when he found out she had had an affair. Nearly all of the children thought that the woman deserved to be hit.

In another scenario, about 80% of the children said a man had cause to slap his partner because she did not have the dinner ready on time.

The study also suggested that girls expected to modify and limit their behaviour and expectations once they were married and had children – sexual stereotypes were impacting the girls to accommodate men.

One of the girls said: “I want to be a dancer or a doctor.”

But she added: “When I grow up I’m going to have two babies and work part-time in the shop down the road.”

Both of these startling results could already be seen in the children’s lives. Researcher Nancy Lombard drew connections to childhood violence and power on the playground:

“The old saying of ‘If he pulls your pigtails it means he likes you’, translates into violence in adulthood which girls accept as normal.”…

“All the girls said they don’t get much of the playground because the boys dominate the space.

“They are still told they can’t play football because they are a girl.”

The study was presented at a conference organized by Scottish Women’s Aid and Edinburgh Napier University in February.

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