A growing body of work highlights the increasing significance of violence against women (VAW) in the lives of young people. Research focusing on young people’s gendered attitudes and beliefs towards VAW has a key role to play in explaining and addressing this serious societal phenomenon, but to date, there has been no critical synthesis of empirical literature. This article addresses this lacuna by critically reviewing qualitative empirical research which explores how young people’s attitudes towards, and understandings of, VAW are intertwined with their constructions of gender. We find that young people’s gendered beliefs around men’s perceived physical strength, their construction of heterosexual gender norms and relations, and use of bio-deterministic discourses, are highly salient in moderating attitudes towards VAW, and can lead young people to normalize and justify VAW. Young people express complex and contradictory attitudes towards VAW. Thus, while declaring an intolerance of violence in general, they indicate differing levels of acceptability for different types of violence, dependent on situational context. Reflecting on the methodological scope of the literature, we suggest that qualitative research tools have an important role to play in exploring this attitudinal complexity.
- violence against women
- Young people
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Gender Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Social Sciences (miscellaneous)