25 November 2015

Violence Against Women Demeans Men says Stevenson

Stewart Stevenson, SNP MSP for Banffshire & Buchan Coast, tackled violence against women in a Scottish Parliament debate this week, stating that he wanted a society based on mutual respect and safety for all citizens.

Mr Stevenson said:

“Violence against women does not simply endanger women - it demeans men, who are the primary source of that violence.”

He welcomed Scottish Government action in bringing forward new laws to deal with the issue but acknowledged that gathering evidence of psychological and physical violence was a difficult task for the justice system.

He added:

“The change that will make the greatest difference will come when we find ways to change men’s minds.

“We want to challenge attitudes and beliefs, which is extremely difficult. The psychological phenomenon that is called confirmation bias—the unconscious filtering out of information that is at odds with our established beliefs and learned behaviours—is a substantial barrier to change. If we are to persuade people to change their attitudes and thinking, we need to engage intensively.

“I am an optimist by nature. I think that we might reach the tipping point on the matter in the relatively near future, similar to the one that we reached with drink driving. When I first started drinking, drinking and driving was basically just one of the things that happened—nobody bothered about it that much—but now it is viewed very differently in society. We must get to that position on violence against women.”

Stewart Stevenson
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