Attitudes of health care providers towards SGBV survivors or services

Attitudes of health care providers towards SGBV survivors or services

Attitudes of health care providers towards SGBV survivors or services

The attitudes of service providers towards women and men‘s socially prescribed sex-roles, the issue of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV), the SGBV service they provide, and those who receive the services

Attitude is defined as a person‘s favorable or unfavor­able assessment of a behavior or situation.

Evaluators may want to disaggregate by sex.

Data Requirement(s):

Responses to surveys; transcripts from focus groups

Interviews of service providers; and focus groups

The indicator identifies providers who hold victim-blam­ing, fatalistic, passive or other attitudes inconsistent with gender-sensitive quality of care. Illustrative examples of attitudes to measure are presented below. These individual-level provider attitudes are important to track because they constitute barriers to (1) reporting and seeking SGBV services and (2) the deliv­ery of sensitive and appropriate services.

This information demonstrates to donor agencies that the organization is providing the service compassionately and sensitively within the community.  In addition, the indicator reflects the quality of training that the organization provides to its health care providers.

Illustrative Attitudes to be Assessed among Health Care Workers for SGBV

  • Sex-stereotyping:

A woman must be a virgin when she marries;

A wife should never contradict her husband;

It is acceptable for women to have a career, but marriage and family should come first;

There is something wrong with a woman who does not want to marry and raise children;

Men always want and benefit from sex with women;

Men and boys are invulnerable to sexual exploitation; and

Sexual activity between a woman and a boy is always wanted by the boy.

  • Acceptance of interpersonal violence:

Being roughed-up is sexually stimulating and/ or a sign of a man‘s love for a woman;

Women will pretend that they do not want to have intercourse because they do not want to seem loose, but they are really hoping the man will force them;

A wife should move out of the house if her husband hits her;

A man is sometimes justified in hitting his wife;

Women are incapable of abuse;

Female perpetrators of abuse can never be as violent as men;

If a male is sexually abused by another male, he must be gay;

If a gay male or female is sexually abused by another of the same sex as themselves, they enjoy it.

Sources: Burt (1980) and Munro (2000).

  • Acceptance of homosexuality

Homosexuality is immoral;

Homosexual men molest children;

Somebody who is lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender (LGBT) is confused and doesn’t know what they want;

To be bisexual implies that a person has multiple partners;

Homosexuals are promiscuous and do not develop long-term relationships;

People have a choice whether or not to be gay;

Mothers of gay individuals must have done something wrong in their parenting;

LGBTs can not be good parents;

Rape doesn’t occur within the LGBT community.

Attitudes can be revealed in one’s tone, body language, speech, and actions.  Thus, it is highly subjective.  Evaluators should be cognizent of this when conducting interviews and focus groups – both in their own verbal and body language when they pose the questions and conduct the interviews as well as in how the responses are interpreted.

Traditionally, assessments of attitudes toward male or LGBT survivors of SGBV have been absent.  It is not enough to assume if there are or are not issues with providing services to these groups.  Asking health care providers specific questions about their attitudes toward these groups is an important component of this indicator.

attitude, violence

People’s reactions to SGBV can be greatly influenced by personal and societal gender stereotypes.  These may include the belief that a woman who dresses provocatively is to blame for being sexually assaulted; it’s not rape if the couple is dating or is married; and women cannot be perpetrators of SGBV.  Training providers specifically in SGBV is essential for confronting and dealing with harmful attitudes toward SGBV survivors and ensuring that clients’ needs are handled with sensitivity, compassion, and impartiality.

The Treatment Needs of Sexually Abused Men.  Kali Munro, 2000.  Available at: