New Delhi- 49 per cent women In Jammu and Kashmir have justified men beating their wives under certain circumstances, while lesser percentage of men rationalised such behaviour, according to the recent National Family Health Survey (NHFS).
According to NHFS-5, Forty-nine percent of women agree that a husband is justified in hitting or beating his wife under certain circumstances.
The survey put forward the probable circumstances under which a husband beats his wife: if he suspects her of being unfaithful; if she disrespects in-laws; if she argues with him; if she refuses to have sex with him; if she goes out without informing him; if she neglects the house or the children; if she doesn’t cook good food.
The most common reasons given by the respondents to justify beating were if a woman shows disrespect for her in-laws followed by if she neglects the house or children and if she goes out without telling him.
45 percent of the men say that wife beating is justified in some circumstances, especially if the wife shows disrespect for in-laws or if she is being unfaithful and if she goes out without telling him.
“Even among women and men who have completed at least 12 years of schooling, 44 percent of women and 43 percent of men say that a husband is justified in beating his wife for one or more of the specified reasons,” the study says.
Ushasree, director of ‘Roshni’, a Hyderabad-based NGO which provides counselling and other services to those in emotional distress, said her organisation has seen a rise in sexual abuse and domestic violence during COVID-19.
“Some men appear to vent their frustration, caused by loss of income and other reasons due to the pandemic, on their family members,” she said.
“There is an increase in the number of calls we received because friction has grown among family members as they stay confined within four walls round-the-clock due to the pandemic,” she said.
Though the number of calls is on the decline of late, women are generally facing domestic violence, she said.
Roshni is a member of Befrienders Worldwide, an international organisation. It has two helpline numbers, 040-6620 2001and 040-6620 2000, she said.
Amita Pitre, lead specialist, Gender Justice: Oxfam India, said the organisation’s work in five states shows that harmful gender social norms help justify violence against women and girls.
“They are the tools of patriarchy and women are as much a part of the patriarchal society as men. In fact, women are trained in society to be strict guardians of these norms, especially for daughters and daughters-in-laws, and that is one of the most common ways they are perpetuated,” Pitre told PTI.
“All the reasons cited to justify violence on women are a product of these norms: if she neglects the house or children, if she refuses to have sex with the husband, if she doesn’t cook food properly… all these define how women should behave in society. It is as important that women move away from such thinking as men if gender-based violence against women has to stop,” she said.
According to the survey, over 30 per cent women from 14 of the 18 states and Union Territories that were surveyed justify men beating their wives under certain circumstances, while lesser percentage of men rationalised such behaviour,
Over 75 per cent women justified men beating their wives in three states — Telangana (84 per cent), Andhra Pradesh (84 per cent) and Karnataka (77 per cent).
Manipur (66 per cent), Kerala (52 per cent), Maharashtra (44 per cent) and West Bengal (42 per cent) were the other states where a large number of women justified men beating their wives.
Of the 18 states, women respondents in 13 — Himachal Pradesh, Kerala, Manipur, Gujarat, Nagaland, Goa, Bihar, Karnataka, Assam, Maharashtra, Telangana, Nagaland and West Bengal — cited ‘disrespect to in-laws’ as the main reason to justify beating.
The lowest population of women that justified beating by husbands was in Himachal Pradesh (14.8 per cent).
Among men, 81.9 per cent respondents from Karnataka said such behaviour is justified as against 14.2 per cent in Himachal Pradesh. (With PTI inputs)
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