While there is broad support for programmes to combat violence against women, a new poll shows some worrying attitudes to the issue, according to the International Solidarity Foundation, ISF, a Finnish NGO that seeks to advance the status of women and girls worldwide as well as their access to a sustainable income.
Nearly nine out of ten of respondents in a recent poll said that it is important for Finland to improve the condition of women in developing countries, in the recent survey that sought to test opinions and attitudes toward the issue of violence against women.
A majority of 75 percent said the country should show more visible support in the wider world for combating violence against women. Respondents almost unanimously agreed that violence against women is always wrong. Moreover, psychological violence was seen to be as damaging as physical violence.
"It is gratifying to see that there is broad support in Finland for international efforts to combat violence against women. We want to point out that violence against women is always wrong, whether it happens in Finland or elsewhere in the world and based on the survey results, people in Finland seem to agree," said ISF gender-equality expert Maria Väkiparta.
The survey showed that just five percent of respondents said that Finland should not intervene in forms of violence that are based on culture or tradition, such as female genital mutilation. More than half or people polled said that Finland should devote more public funding toward efforts to prevent violence against women.
One-third of men think women to blame for violence
Altogether roughly 80 percent of the people surveyed described Finland as a safe place for women. However one-third of men interviewed said that sometimes women are to blame for the violence they encounter. Overall, a quarter of all respondents shared this view.
The results of the survey highlighted differences in values and attitudes based on age. Respondents under the age of 30 were more critical of the idea of using public funds for international efforts to combat violence against women. Fewer than half of people this age said that Finland should play a prominent role in improving the status of women and promoting non-violence in developing countries.
"It is worrying that the least [level of] solidarity and condemnation of violence can be found among the younger group of respondents in particular. The fact that one-third of Finnish men think that in some situations violence against women is the woman’s fault means that unfortunately we have some distance to cover before there is zero tolerance for violence," Väkiparta commented.
The survey was conducted for IFS by TNS Kantar and involved 1,061 respondents across the country.