IRH Researchers Contribute Chapter to New Gender-Based Violence Textbook
A recently published anthropology textbook, Applying Anthropology to Gender-Based Violence: Global Responses, Local Practices, includes the IRH-led Responsible, Engaged and Loving (REAL) Fathers Initiative as an example of using applied anthropology to combat the global problem of gender-based violence (GBV). Edited by Jennifer Wies and Hillary Haldane, the text brings together insights from policy makers, health workers, and legal practitioners, and ultimately advocates for the value of local historical and social contexts when dealing with GBV.
IRH’s Rebecka Lundgren and Kimberly Ashburn’s chapter (“‘I’m a REAL Father Now!’: Using Applied Anthropology to Promote Positive Masculinities to Reduce Family Violence in Northern Uganda” beginning on page 135) describes how an iterative research process — using the tools of applied anthropology — can support efforts to transform inequitable gender norms and reduce family violence.
Recognizing that family — both intimate partner violence and physical discipline of children — exists as part of a larger landscape of cultural gender norms and conflict in Northern Uganda, researchers engaged men, women and community members to develop an intervention that would target these root causes. The resulting REAL Fathers Initiative mentoring program and community awareness campaign addressed cultural norms that men should exercise power or control over women and children. By promoting positive masculinity and problem-solving skills, REAL Fathers began to shift gender norms and reduce violent behaviors among young fathers.
“Our hope with this chapter is to engage readers in considering the wider context of power,” said Dr. Lundgren. “How does power give meaning to violence? And how can we apply this understanding to violence prevention?”