Family development: ‘Promoting responsible fatherhood reduces domestic violence’

Men urged to foster understanding of equality, women empowerment in children.

Sehrish Wasif June 10, 2013
Patterns of gender inequality were borne out of the stereotypical norms of masculinity and men’s gender identities, said Sajjad. PHOTO: FILE


Promoting responsible fatherhood can help prevent child marriages and domestic violence and contribute to an environment whereby women and children have access to their basic rights.

This was the crux of a discussion held on Monday at a local hotel organised by the Rutgers World Population Foundation (WPF).

Rutgers WPF Assistant Programme Officer Natasha Sajjad said fathers were usually more responsive to children despite being less emotionally expressive with them.

They didn’t spend as much time with children due to other engagements, she added.

“These set patterns are affecting families’ overall development and are the major cause for increasing incidents of domestic violence and early child marriages,” she said.

Patterns of gender inequality were borne out of the stereotypical norms of masculinity and men’s gender identities, said Sajjad.

“This has serious implications for women’s health and social development as well as for men’s health and interpersonal relationships,” she said.

Sajjad referred to a household survey recently conducted in Dera Ghazi Khan, Muzaffargarh, Jacobabad, Kashmore, Jafferabad and Naseerabad, for which around 5,000 women were interviewed.

While 62 per cent of respondents said they had witnessed domestic violence during their childhoods, 75 per cent said their children had witnessed the physical abuse inflicted upon them by their husbands.

Exposure to such violence had a negative impact on young minds and led to aggressive streaks in their character, she said.

Rutgers WPF Assistant Programme Officer Amina Sarwar said it was critical for women to engage men in childcare activities at home if they wished to see long-term behavioural changes in children.

“Men should play their role in creating an environment which transforms their children’s behaviour so that their sons understand the meaning of gender equality and their daughters understand the concept of female empowerment,” she said.

Sajjad and Sarwar announced that Rutgers WPF would commence a yearlong ‘Green Ribbon’ campaign promoting responsible fatherhood from June 16 on Father’s Day.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 11th, 2013.


Andrew Jackson | 8 years ago | Reply

Abuse is definitely a learned behavior. I work with and one of the primary things we try to do is teach the children of domestic violence, whether they were actually victims of abuse or just witnessed it, is that there is a better way to deal with the stresses life throws at you than to resort to violence. Unfortunately for most of these children this is all they know. They learn from their fathers that violence is the way to get and maintain control. And they learn from their mothers that this is what it takes to stay in line. The children may hate the father for the abuse but in a way it is almost reminiscent of Stockholm Syndrome. They develop feelings of love and adoration due to the violence. This is why the cycle of abuse is so powerful. Mixing love and violence is a powerful cocktail and difficult to unlearn. But with the right guidance it can be achieved and we can break the cycle of violence before it begins. This is done by teaching the children.

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