Almost one-third of the young males of the country think women should tolerate violence to keep family intact, a nationwide study has found.
The findings reveal the perceptions of young men on gender-based violence. The study report identified societal factors such as ignorance, prejudice and taboo were as some of the barriers in addressing the knowledge gap among male youth.
The study, conducted under a research project titled 'SRHR of Persons with Disabilities and Male Youth in Bangladesh,' shows interesting patterns of social media behaviors, healthcare seeking behaviors, sexual and reproductive health and rights (SRHR) knowledge and perceptions and masculinity.
The study report was published in a virtual dissemination event of the research project, organized by Brac James P Grant, School of Public Health (Brac JPGSPH), Brac University on 15 December, reads a press release.
The project started on 15 November, 2018 and was completed on 15 December, 2020. It was funded by the Royal Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands.
Two nationwide studies have been conducted under this project- 'A Study on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Bangladesh' and 'A Study on the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of Male Youth in Bangladesh,' the press release added.
The findings of the first study, carried out among 11,102 individual male youths, indicates that almost 62% of the respondents get the primary knowledge of SRHR from their peers.
Findings also showed that almost 54% of the young male do not know about STDs, while average age of first sexual experience was found to be 16.5 years and 18% of young unmarried males had sexual experience at least once in their lifetime.
11% of the young male were involved in using sexual stimulants during sex.
The perceptions of young men on gender-based violence was also captured in the study, findings show that about 32% of the participants agree that 'a woman should tolerate violence in-order to keep the family intact'.
Dr Farzana A Misha, research coordinator, Brac JPGSPH, Brac University presented the findings of the study.
KAM Morshed, senior director, advocacy, Technology and Partnership, Brac said the mass and entertainment media fuels the unfortunate state of 'masculinity' in our country.
Discussing about young male, Dr Nurun Nahar Begum, Line Director, Clinical Contraception Services Delivery Program (CCSDP) Unit, Directorate General of Family Planning (DGFP) said male SRH is a very neglected topic due to the way the healthcare system is designed at the moment, she too feels that the findings from the research will help the government to plan and produce more effective strategies for male youth of Bangladesh.
More than half of physically challenged persons suffer from SRH issues
The second study, conducted among 5,000 physically challenged persons, indicates that almost 52.1% of the participants suffered from at least one SRH issues in the past 12 months.
The report says, accessibility, availability, and social acceptability were found to be very important factors in the service seeking behavior of the participants.
Only 25.5% of the participants had knowledge regarding sexual and reproductive health services which clearly shows the gap in suffering and service seeking.
Cases of violence and abuse among physically challenged persons were also found to be high. Lack of knowledge, social security and sensitization regarding disability were some of the main issues which seems to have resulted in this.
Hamidul Hoque, Director, National Foundation for Development of the Disabled Persons, Ministry of Social Welfare, Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh, special guest to the dissemination event mentioned the importance of awareness and sensitization of family and community members as a primary step in addressing the problems identified in the research. He also emphasized on the collaboration of both private and public sectors in utilizing the findings of this research for better outcomes in improving the components of SRHR in Bangladesh.
Meanwhile, KAM Morshed in his speech, identified the stigma and prejudice that exists in our society regarding persons with disabilities. Morshed suggests that we bring in effective behavioral change campaigns to target these stigma and misconceptions, and produce a better ground for inclusive and strong policy implementations.
Dr Sabina Faiz Rashid, Dean and Professor, Brac JPGSPH, Brac University inaugurated the event by addressing the importance of research in producing evidence-based interventions.