James L. Gibson, PhD

Sidney W. Souers Professor of Government, Arts & Sciences

As recognized by the United Nations and other agencies, gender-based violence is an affliction that threatens women throughout the world. While many explanations exist of why gender-based violence takes place, such violence is often abetted when it becomes normalized: when the norms of a community, embedded in widely shared patriarchal values, either explicitly or implicitly justify violence. While few openly endorse violence against women as a general norm, we hypothesize that many recognize contextual “exceptions” that justify violence. We address several contextual hypotheses using an experimental vignette, administered to a representative sample of the residents of the North West Province in South Africa, a rural and fairly traditional province. This project tests hypotheses in both rural and urban communities.