Women’s Acceptance of Intimate Partner Violence within Marriage: Qualitative Perspectives from Rural Bangladesh

Sidney Ruth Schuler, Academy for Educational Development (AED)
Farzana Islam, Jahangirnagar University

While violence against women by husbands and male partners occurs throughout the world, the proportions of women who report experiencing such violence, and the proportions of men and women who say it is sometimes justified, vary substantially among societies and subpopulations—or, more precisely, the proportions who say so in surveys vary. This paper uses data from 110 in-depth interviews and 16 small group discussions to explore the psycho-social underpinnings of a 2002 survey finding that an extremely high proportion of women believe it is acceptable for husbands to use violence against their wives. The qualitative findings suggest that women may view intimate partner violence as a violation of their human rights even though they have resigned themselves to accept it. The authors conclude by raising questions regarding the meaning of responses to commonly used questions intended to measure women’s attitudes regarding intimate partner violence, and discussing policy implications.

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Presented in Session 20: Determinants of Domestic Violence