Bridges to Adulthood

Publication Subtitle

Understanding the lifelong influence of men's childhood experiences of violence

Publication year


Publication Author

Manuel Contreras, Brian Heilman, Gary Barker, Ajay Singh, Ravi Verma, Joanna Bloomfield

Great numbers of men report experiencing violence as children and these experiences have significant lifelong effects, according to the new analysis of the International Men and Gender Equality Survey (IMAGES) dataset included in this report. Adult men who were victims or witnesses of domestic violence as children, for instance, likely come to accept violence as a conflict-resolving tactic not only in intimate partnerships but also in their wider lives. Experiences of violence as children can also significantly influence how men relate to their partners and children and whether they show more or less gender-equitable attitudes. Men who experience violence as children are also consistently more likely to report low self-esteem and regular experiences of depression.

Using IMAGES data from six countries (Brazil, Chile, Croatia, India, Mexico, and Rwanda), this report explores the prevalence and nature of violence against children as well as its potential lifelong effects. The report expands understanding of these issues by examining data from low- and middle-income countries, analyzing men’s reports of experiencing and perpetrating violence, and exploring broad categories of lifelong effects.