According to the prevailing assumption, the main cause of violence against women isa structural inequality between men and women. That idea is common in internationalhuman rights discourse, widely accepted on political level and enforced by severalscientific studies. The structural nature of violence against women means that it isgender-based violence and one of the crucial social mechanisms by which womenare forced into a subordinate position compared with men. It is a manifestationof historically unequal power relations between men and women which have led todomination over, and discrimination against, women by men, and have prevented fulladvancement of women.Logically thinking, achieving gender equality would lead to the elimination ofviolence against women. Respectively, in societies with greater gender equality, wherewomen enjoy better rights, have a better footing towards men, greater legal protectionand access to power, they also should be less vulnerable to violence based on theirgender. The most gender-equal countries in the world are Scandinavian countries –Sweden, Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Finland.Yet, the recent EU-wide victimisation survey on violence against women (FundamentalRights Agency 2014) produced startling results. It turned out that the highestrates of violence against women (in almost every single aspect, intimate partner violenceand non-partner violence) were reported in the Nordic countries, particularly in Sweden,whereas countries considered traditional and conservative, e.g. the Mediterraneancountries or Poland, revealed a lower prevalence of violence against women. The FRAresults on Scandinavian countries were coined the “Nordic paradox”.The main problem is this: is really gender equality a factor reducing or increasingthe likelihood of violence against women’s victimisation? Is the subordinate positionof women typical of more conservative societies a protective factor against violenceagainst women? And are actually the FRA study results sufficiently reliable to drawsuch conclusions?The first section of the paper discusses the FRA results regarding the Scandinaviancountries and presents it against a larger picture of gender equality indicators. Thenext section examines the possible explanations for differences between countriesoffered by the authors, which are mainly methodological and contextual ones, such as:cultural acceptability to talk with other people about experiences of violence againstwomen, higher levels of disclosure about violence against women in more gender-equalsocieties, patterns of employment or lifestyle or levels of urbanisation, differencesbetween countries in the overall levels of violent crime and drinking habits in particularsocieties.The third section reviews the previous research findings, looking at the relationshipbetween gender equality or women’s status and violence against women. There are twochief hypotheses tested in the studies: the ameliorative hypothesis (violence againstwomen will fall along with greater gender equality) and the backlash hypothesis (ifwomen remain in their subordinate position, men are less threatened and less likely toresort to violence against them). Overall, the studies showed mixed results, dependingon the used measures. Furthermore, most of the them were conducted on the US data,and their application to the European context is doubtful.The final section presents some theoretical explanations from the critical sociologyfield. The three most relevant theories suitable to explain the “Nordic paradox” andthe relationship between gender equality and relatively high rates of violence againstwomen include the variety of patriarchy theory of G. Hunnicutt, the hegemonic masculinities of R.W. Connell and J. Messerschmidt and the symbolic violence ofP. Bourdieu. All of these theories critically frame the use of violence by men as a meansof upholding their superior position towards women.
Ahmadabadi Z., Najman J.M., Williams G.M., Clavarino A.M., Income, gender, and forms of intimate partner violence, „Journal of Interpersonal Violence” 2017, s. 1–26.
Austin R.L., Kim Y.S., A cross-national examination of the relationship between gender inequality and rape rates, „International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology” 2000, nr 44, s. 204–221.
Bailey W.C., The socioeconomic status of women and patterns of forcible rape for major U.S. cities, „Sociological Focus” 1999, nr 32, s. 43–66.
Balvig F., Kyvsgaard B., Vold og overgrep mod kvinder, University of Copenhagen Ministry of Justice, Copenhagen 2006.
Baron L., Straus M.A., Four theories of rape: A macrosociological analysis, „Social Problems” 1987, nr 34, s. 467–489.
Błachut J., Problemy związane z pomiarem przestępczości, Wolters Kluwer, Kraków 2007.
Bourdieu P., Masculine Domination, Stanford University Press, Stanford 2001.
Bourdieu P., Medytacje paschaliańskie, Oficyna Naukowa, Warszawa 2006.
Bourdieu P., Social space and symbolic power, „Sociological Theory” 1989, t. 7, nr 1.
Brown R.P., Osterman L.L., Culture of honor, violence and homicide, w: Shackelford T.K., Weekes-Shackelford V.A. (red.), The Oxford Handbook of Evolutionary Perspectives of Violence, Homicide, and War, Oxford University Press, New York, NY 2012, s. 218–232.
Connell R.W., Messerschmidt J.W., Hegemonic masculinity: Rethinking the concept, „Gender & Society” 2005, nr 19, s. 829–859.
Deklaracja o eliminacji przemocy wobec kobiet, przyjęta przez Zgromadzenie Ogólne ONZ 20 grudnia 1993 r. (A/RES/48/104).
Directive 2012/29/EU of the European Parliament and of the Council of 25 October 2012 establishing minimum standards on the rights, support and protection of victims of crime, and replacing Council Framework Decision 2001/220/JHA.
Fidelis M., Kobiety, komunizm i industrializacja w powojennej Polsce, WAB, Warszawa 2015.
FRA European Union Agency For Fundamental Rights, Violence against women. An EU-wide survey. Results at glance, 2014.
Garcia E., Merlo J., Intimate partner violence against women and the Nordic paradox, „Social Science & Medicine” 2016, nr 157, s. 27–30.
Gartner R., Baker K., Pampel F.C., Gender stratification, and the gender gap in homicide victimization, „Social Problems” 1990, t. 37, nr 4, s. 593–612.
Gender Equality Index 2015 – Measuring gender equality in the European Union 2005–2012 (Country profiles), European Institute for Gender Equality 2015.
Goodey J., Violence against women: Placing evidence from a European Union – wide survey in a policy context, „Journal of Interpersonal Violence” 2017, t. 32, nr 12, s. 1760–1791.
Gramsci A., Notes from the Prison, Lawrence & Wishart, London 1971.
Grzyb M., An explanation of honour-related killings of women in Europe through Bourdieu’s concept of symbolic violence and masculine domination, „Current Sociology” 2016, t. 64, nr 7, s. 1036–1053.
Haern J., Strid S., Husu L., Verloo M., Interrogating violence against women and state violence policy: Gendered intersectionalities and the quality of policy in The Netherlands, Sweden and the UK, „Current Sociology Monograph” 2016, t. 64, nr 4, s. 551–567.
Hearn J., A multi-faceted analysis of men’s violence to known women: from hegemonic masculinity to the hegemony of men, „The Sociological Review” 2012, nr 60, s. 589–610.
Hearn J., The sociological significance of domestic violence: Tensions, paradoxes and implications, „Current Sociology” 2012, t. 61, nr 2, s. 152–170.
Hearn J., The Violences of Men, Sage, London 1998.
Hines D.A., Domestic violence [w:] M. Tonry (red.), The Oxford Handbook of Crime and Public Policy, Oxford University Press, Oxford 2013, s. 115–139.
Hunnicutt G., Varieties of patriarchy and violence against women resurrecting „Patriarchy” as a theoretical tool, „Violence Against Women” 2009, t. 15, nr 5, s. 553–573.
Jefferson T., Subordinating hegemonic masculinity, „Theoretical Criminology” 2002, t. 6, nr 1, s. 63–81.
Jehle J.-M., Attrition and conviction rates of sexual offences in Europe. Definitions and criminal justice responses, „European Journal on Criminal Policy and Research” 2012, nr 18, s. 145–161.
Komisja Europejska (KE), European Commission Actions to Combat Violence Against Women, broszura, 2016, http://ec.europa.eu/justice/gender-equality/files/gender_based_violence/160308_factsheet_vaw_en.pdf [dostęp: 6.07.2017].
Lovett J., Kelly L., Different Systems, Similar Outcomes? Tracking Attrition in Reported Rape cases across Europe, CWASU, London 2009.
Lundgren E., Heimer G., Westerstrand J., Kalliokoski A.M., Captured queen: Men’s violence against women in ‘equal’, Sweden – a prevalence study, The Swedish Crime Victim Compensation and Support Authority and Uppsala University, Umeå 2002.
Martin K., Vieraitis L.M., Britto S., Gender equality and women’s absolute status. A test of the feminist models of rape, „Violence Against Women” 2006, t. 12, nr 4, s. 321–339.
McCarry M., Masculinity studies and male violence. Critique of collusion?, „Women’s Studies International Forum” 2007, t. 30, nr 5, s. 404–415.
Messerschmidt J.W., Masculinities and Crime: Critique and Reconceptualisation of Theory, Rowman and Littlefield, Lanham, MD 1993.
Mishtal J., The Politics of Morality. The Church, the State and Reproductive Rights in Post-Socialist Poland, Ohio University Press, Athens 2015.
Morrell R., Jewkes R., Lindegger G., Hegemonic masculinity/ies in South Africa. Culture, power and gender politics, „Men and Masculinities” 2012, nr 15, s. 11–30.
Nevala S., Coercive control and its impact on intimate partner violence through the lens of an EU-wide survey on violence against women, „Journal of Interpersonal Violence” 2017, t. 32, nr 12, s. 1792–1820.
Pateman C., Kontrakt płci, tłum. J. Mikos, Czarna Owca, Warszawa 2014.
Peterson R.D., Bailey W.C., Rape and dimensions of gender socioeconomic inequality in U.S. metropolitan areas, „Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency” 1992, nr 29, s. 162–177.
Piispa M., Heiskanen M., Kääriäinen J., Sirén R., Naisiin kohdistunut väkivalta 2005, National Research Institute of Legal Policy and the European Institute for Crime Prevention and Control, affiliated with the United Nations, Helsinki 2006.
Pridemore W.A., Freilich J.D., Gender equity, traditional masculine culture, and female homicide victimization, „Journal of Criminal Justice” 2005, t. 33, nr 3, s. 213–223.
Russell D.E., The Politics of Rape, Stein and Day, New York 1975.
Sanz-Barbero B., Vives-Cases C., Otero-Garcia L., Muntaner C., Torrubiano-Dominguez J., O’Campo P., Intimate partner violence among women in Spain: the impact of regional-level male unemployment and income inequality, „European Journal of Public Health” 2015, t. 25, nr 6, s. 1105–1111.
Schwendinger J.L., Schwendinger H., Rape and Inequality, Sage, Beverly Hills, CA 1983.
Stark E., Coercive Control. How Men Entrap Women in Personal Life, Oxford University Press, Oxford–New York 2007.
Tubylewicz K., Moraliści, Wielka Litera, Warszawa 2017.
UNODC, Global Homicide Study 2013. Trends/Contexts/Dara, Vienna 2014.
Vieraitis L.M., Britto S., Kovandzic T.V., The impact of women’s status and gender inequality on female homicide victimization rates evidence from U.S. Counties, „Feminist Criminology” 2007, t. 2, nr 1, s. 57–73.
Walker L.E., Battered women and learned helplessness, „Victimology” 1977/1978, t. 2, nr 3/4, s. 525–534.
Watts C., Zimmermann C., Violence against women: Global scope and magnitude, „The Lancet” 2002, t. 359, nr 9313, s. 1232–1237.
Whaley R.B., Messner S.F., Gender equality and gendered homicides, „Homicide Studies” 2002, nr 6, s. 190.
Whaley R.B., The paradoxical relationship between gender inequality and rape, „Gender & Society” 2001, nr 15, s. 531–555.
WHO, mapa krajów wg zaburzeń wywołanych spożyciem alkoholu, http://www.who.int/gho/substance_abuse/burden/alcohol_prevalence/en/ [dostęp: 6.07.2017].
WHO, WHO Multi-country Study on women’s health and domestic violence against women, WHO, Geneva 2005.
Williams J.E., Holmes K.A., The Second Assault: Rape and Public Attitudes, Greenwood, Westport, CT 1981.
Yodanis C.L., Gender inequality, violence against women, and fear. A cross-national test of the femininist theory of violence against women, „Journal of Interpersonal Violence” 2004, t. 19, nr 6, s. 655–675.
Zalecenie ogólne 19, Komitet CEDAW.