2003 August 02 Saturday
Most Zimbabwean Women Think Wife Beating Is Justified

People in different cultures have different values.

More than 50 percent of women in Zimbabwe believe domestic violence is justifiable in certain situations, according to researchers from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. When presented with five situations -- arguing with her spouse, neglecting the children, refusing to have sex, burning food or leaving the home without telling her husband -- the study participants agreed that a husband is justified beating his wife. The study, "Understanding women's attitudes towards wife beating in Zimbabwe," appears in the July 2003, issue of Bulletin, the newsletter of the World Health Organization.

Michelle J. Hindin, PhD, author of the study and assistant professor in the Department of Population and Family Health Sciences at the School of Public Health, said, "While further research is needed to explicitly make the link between women's attitudes towards wife beating and their experiences of abuse, women's attitudes serve as a marker for social acceptability and reflect pervasive gender norms and the unequal status of women in Zimbabwean society."

Women aged 15-24 were over two and half times more likely to believe that wife beating was justified when compared to women aged 45-49. Although fewer older women said they found violence against women acceptable, over 50 percent of the women in this age group justified beatings. The researchers said that the results are evidence that wife beating is standard behavior in Zimbabwean society.

Younger women living in rural areas, with low household wealth, less than a secondary education and lower occupational status more frequently justified violence at the hands of their spouse. Women who share the responsibility of making household decisions with their husbands, live in an urban environment, came from wealthy households or had secondary education or higher were less likely to rationalize wife beating. In addition, women who share the same level of education with their spouses were less likely to justify violence.

Large influxes of people from one culture into another culture will change the average values held in the receiving culture. Cultural differences do matter.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2003 August 02 10:28 AM  Human Nature


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