Measuring violence, mainstreaming gender: does adding harm make a difference?

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Margunn BjørnholtNorwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo, Norway

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Ole Kristian HjemdalNorwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo, Norway

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This article contributes to the methodological debate on how to define and measure violence in order to more effectively capture gendered patterns of exposure to violence in survey studies. The authors take as their starting point Walby and Towers’ proposals to mainstream gender in surveys, and to define violence more narrowly by adding the concept of injury. This article applies Walby and Towers’ quality criteria to a Norwegian survey on violence and rape, and finds that it performs relatively well in accounting for the main gender dimensions they propose. The article presents an analysis of the gender dimensions of violence in the original study, as well as a re-analysis of the data, including harm in line with Walby and Towers’ propositions. It also adds fear of being severely injured or killed. Based on this analysis, the authors conclude that acts alone represent an adequate measure for severe violence and sexual violence and the gendered pattern of exposure. In contrast with Walby and Towers’ assumption, adding harm did not change the gender distribution of exposure. However, adding fear of being injured or killed made a gender difference.

Margunn BjørnholtNorwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo, Norway

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Ole Kristian HjemdalNorwegian Centre for Violence and Traumatic Stress Studies, Oslo, Norway

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