This is distressing.
Aside: the Washington Post piece is disingenuous to the findings of the research, really (or, at the very least, it doesn’t go a good enough job of locating the research in the context of where it took place). The research was carried out in countries which do not have good track records in attitudes towards women and women’s rights. That doesn’t detract from the results necessarily - that many women in these countries think that male-to-female domestic violence is acceptable - but I would like to them to be clear.
Edited to add (so that I’m clear): My point above is that it is likely that these women’s perspectives are very much ingrained in and by the cultures in which they live so, as much as I find it distressing, I can understand it. But, also, that is not to say that these women’s experiences/ perspectives are any less valid/ troubling for me.
A new study in the American Sociological Review, by Rachael S. Pierotti of the University of Michigan, looks at the attitudes of women in 26 different countries toward intimate partner violence. The findings, which could be potentially quite important for curbing domestic violence, suggest that global cultural attitudes increasingly reject it, and that women who are exposed to these ideas are more likely to adopt them.
The surveys, conducted over several years, asked women, “Sometimes a husband is annoyed or angered by things which his wife does. In your opinion, is a husband justified in hitting or beating his wife in the following situations?”
I’ve mapped out the results above. In blue countries, a majority of women answered “no,” and in red countries, a majority answered “yes.” The highest proportion who said they rejected domestic violence was in the Dominican Republic, where 95.54 percent of women said no to the survey question. In Ethiopia, which scored lowest, only 17.84 percent of women answered no.
The survey also presented women with five different scenarios for why a husband might hit his wife: “(1) if she goes out without telling him, (2) if she neglects the children, (3) if she argues with him, (4) if she refuses to have sex with him, and (5) if she burns the food.”
The surveys found growing female rejection of domestic violence in 23 of the 26 countries, suggesting a global trend. It found that “women with greater access to global cultural scripts through urban living, education, or access to media were more likely to reject intimate partner violence.” The phrase “cultural scripts” is academic jargon for global attitudes; in this case, the idea that domestic violence is unacceptable. [Rest (washingtonpost).]
- Global Attitudes Toward Domestic Violence (medicalnewstoday.com)
- Dramatic changes in global attitudes toward domestic violence (ns.umich.edu)
- Women - and men - increasing their rejection of domestic violence, study shows (acestoohigh.com)