In a shocking survey, the researchers have found that approximately 36 per cent of people in developing countries find domestic violence justified in certain situations.
The findings of the University study of Bristol have been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Surveys measured whether people thought a husband or partner was justified in beating his wife or partner is she goes out without telling him, argues with him, neglects the children, suspects her of being unfaithful, refuses to have sex, or burns the food.
On average, 36 per cent of people thought it was justified in at least one of these situations. Attitudes towards domestic violence varied significantly across the 49 countries with only three per cent of people justifying it in the Dominican Republic, in the Caribbean, compared to 83 per cent in Timor-Leste, South East Asia.
Overall, the societal acceptance of domestic violence was higher in South Asia with nearly half the population (47 per cent) justifying it and in Sub-Saharan Africa (38 per cent), compared with Latin America and the Caribbean (12 per cent), Europe and Central Asia (29 per cent).
In 36 out of the 49 countries, mainly in South East Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa, women were more likely to justify the behaviour than men.
Country-level factors, especially the political environment, played an important role in the acceptance of domestic violence. For example, this attitude of acceptance was more prevalent in countries which have experienced frequent and severe political conflict within the past five years.
Furthermore, the societal acceptance of domestic violence among men was lower in countries with more democratic regimes.
People in countries where women had more economic rights were less likely to justify domestic violence. These findings suggest that expanding women’s economic rights can serve to challenge existing social norms around gender roles and the expectations of women and men.
Dr LynnMarie Sardinha, the lead author of the research, said, “This is the first study of its kind and the insights it gives us into people’s attitudes towards domestic violence in the Global South and the influence of country-level factors and environment are invaluable if we’re to tackle this global problem.”
“The widespread justification of domestic violence by women in highly patriarchal societies suggests women have internalised the idea that a husband who physically punishes his wife or verbally reprimands her has exercised a right that serves her interest. They perceive this behaviour as legitimate disciplining, rather than an act of violence,” he said.
“Our findings highlight the need for tailored, geographically-differentiated and gender-specific interventions targeting the acceptance of domestic violence. There is a need for much greater focus on addressing the acceptance of domestic violence through targeted initiatives in societies affected by political conflict. Although domestic violence is exacerbated during and after armed conflict it’s prevention in these societies has received little attention,” the author added.
Researchers hope the findings will inform the development of effective prevention programmes, targeting the factors which lead to domestic violence being accepted by different societies.
Source : ANI