Domestic Violence

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DOMESTIC VIOLANCE AGAINST WOMEN IN BANGLADESH

Gender inequality is deeply embedded in the structure of the patriarchal society of Bangladesh. Male dominance and female subordination are the basic tenets of our social structure. All Bangladeshi social institutions permit, even encourage, the demonstration of the unequal power relation between the sexes and try to perpetuate the interests of patriarchy. Bangladeshi families offer instances of the display of male dominance in intimate relations in the form of marital violence,” says an impassioned Roushan Jahan, a co-founder and former president of Women for Women, a research and study group in her book titled Hidden Danger--Women and Family Violence in Bangladesh. Around the world, women suffer from poverty and discrimination more than men. However, the problem is particularly severe in South Asia, especially in Bangladesh. Violence towards women is often ignored as an issue of poverty, even though it results from a lack of power, resources, and freedom, as well as poor health.  According to Janet E. Jackson, the former deputy representative of the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to Bangladesh, Bangladesh ranks fourth among the world's nations with respect to violence against women (Daily Star 14 Aug. 2008). Jackson observed that "'sixty-five per cent of Bangladeshi males think it is justifiable to beat up their wives, 38 per cent have no clear idea what constitutes physical violence and 40 per cent support keeping women socially dormant'" (ibid.). In this discussion, we will try to explore the amount of violence women face and the different forms it takes considering below, (1) The factors or the causes of violence,

(2) The consequences of violence, and
(3) The awareness program for the abused women.

Before we start discussing these factors, let us first take a look at some statistics on violence against women in Bangladesh. Below data’s are taken from a recent study by ICDDRB and Bangladesh Mahila Porishod & Naripokho. Around 2500 women were questioned in both urban and rural areas and below were observed. Worryingly high levels of abuse were identified, as the study found that many of the women surveyed had been physically assaulted by their husbands: 40% in the urban area studied and 41% in the rural area studied. About 19% of the women in both areas had experienced severe physical violence, which was defined as being hit with a fist or object, kicked or dragged, beaten up, choked, burnt, or threatened/injured with a weapon or object of some kind.  

In addition, 19% of the women surveyed in the urban area, and 16% of those in the rural area, stated that their husbands had physically abused them during the previous 12 months. Furthermore, a large percentage of these abused women had been attacked repeatedly over that period (Fig. 1 and 2 in next page).

Apart from physical abuse (common in the low income class), psychological abuse is also prevalent, particularly in middle class families. The latter, is committed by calling the wife names in front of the children, verbal threats of violence against the victim or a person dear to her, forcing the victim to degrade herself, excessive controlling, curtailing and/or disruption of routine activities such as sleeping or eating habits, social relationship, access to money and verbal insults. At a workshop on violence against women organized by the Bangladeshi South-South Center, it was learned that, Bangladesh stands second in the world in terms of violence against women in different forms like women battering, wife beating, domestic and dowry-related violence, acid attack, rape, physical and verbal harassment, fatwa, sexual harassment in [the] workplace, trafficking and prostitution, polygamy and child abuse (The Independent 12 June 2006).

Identifying what makes abuse more likely, the reasons behind ….  
Multi-level analysis was used to identify the factors that made abuse most likely to...
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