Breaking the mould

Changing belief systems and gender norms to eliminate violence against women

Publication date: 25 July 2018

The report entitled Breaking the mould: changing belief systems and gender norms to eliminate violence against women, analyzes the beliefs of young people aged 15 to 25 from eight Latin American and Caribbean countries, about violence and partner relationships.

These beliefs are based on a distorted idea of “romantic love” (expressed as control, not loving companionship). They lead young people to reproduce the inequalities they see in society and to view acts of male violence as “normal”. This includes telling a partner how she should dress and what kind of friends she can have, checking her mobile phone messages and who she is communicating with, having access to her personal passwords and censuring her photos on social media, as well as keeping track of her movements.

  • 56 percent of women and 48 percent of men aged between 20 and 25 know a woman in their immediate circle who has suffered physical or sexual violence in the past year.
  • Seven of every ten young people think that male violence is a serious problem in their own country.
  • 86 percent of women and men aged 20 to 25 surveyed by Oxfam believe their friends would not intervene if a friend hit his girlfriend. In Colombia, nine of every ten believe that their friends would not intervene either. 

Based on the analysis of the social imaginaries and norms that reproduce sexist violence, the report proposes new paths towards gender equality and a world free of violence.