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“This Isn’t the Life for You”: Masculinities and Nonviolence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
October 24, 2016
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Author: Promundo
Publication Date: April 2016

Description: Homicide and other forms of violence persist at high levels in Rio de Janeiro. This violence overwhelmingly affects low-income, young black men. Past research has rarely examined the relationship of this violence to gender norms nor has it focused on the interplay between urban violence and family and intimate partner violence (IPV). While most studies focus on pathways into violence, only a few studies examine at factors that encourage nonviolence. In favelas and other low-income, marginalized neighborhoods in Rio de Janeiro, boys are exposed from an early age to multiple forms of violence in the household and in their communities. At critical points in life, boys and young men who lack attractive economic opportunities are invited to participate in drug trafficking and, oftentimes, encouraged to use arms or use violence in everyday life. Amidst high levels of urban violence, how do many men adopt and sustain nonviolence in their lives? This research led by Promundo seeks to address two key questions:

1. What factors support groups of men who are surrounded by social and economic inequality, high exposure to violence, and incentives to use violence (e.g., members of drug gangs and the police) in avoiding, abandoning, or lessening their use of violence in complex urban settings?
2. How does higher and lower exposure to urban violence (defined by homicide rates) influence construction of masculinities, experiences of violence during childhood, attitudes and self-reported behaviors about gender among the broader population?

Promundo examines these questions in “IMAGES–Urban Violence”, a study that adapts IMAGES, the International Men and Gender Equality Survey, to focus on gender and urban violence and the interactions between violence in the public and private spheres in Rio de Janeiro. IMAGES is a comprehensive, multi-country study on men’s practices and attitudes toward gender norms, gender equality policies,
household dynamics, caregiving and involvement as fathers, intimate partner violence, sexual diversity, and health and economic stress. Promundo’s offices in Brazil and the United States coordinated the study, which was part of Safe and Inclusive Cities (SAIC), an initiative of Canada’s International Development Research Centre and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development.

To access the resource, please click here “This Isn’t the Life for You”: Masculinities and Nonviolence in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.


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