Should women face physical assaults: Voices of adolescents from Bangladesh
Presentation at the American Public Health Association 131st Annual Meeting & Exposition, 16-19 November
Rahman,Laila; Rob,Ubaidur; Bhuiya,Ismat
Publication date: 2003
This paper presents the findings from a cross-sectional study conducted in 2002 among 3102 adolescents in three urban districts of Bangladesh for investigating the position of women in the family and aspects of physical assaults that they may undergo in their domestic life. An in-depth study with 31 adolescents were also carried out for exploring parental violence and the underlying factors behind women's physical and mental abuse. According to survey findings, most of the fathers are employed while mothers are mainly housewife (87%). About household chores barely 1% to 5% admitted that their fathers always cook, wash clothes and clean houses while 52% to 87% respondents mentioned that their mothers must take permission from husbands for going shopping, children's treatment, own treatment and for visiting relatives. Interestingly, when asked whether husbands should beat their wives, most of the respondents (96%) irrespective of sex and marital status opined in negative. But on probing, they justified different reasons for which husbands can beat their wives - like 65% adolescents mentioned disobeying, 46% boys and 24% girls cited inappropriate activities and extramarital relations while 22% girls against 4% boys reported neglecting husbands. During in-depth investigation, 21 respondents reported parental violence of which 9 adolescents revealed beating - mainly due to poverty, up bringing of children while some pointed out that religious instructions in favor of beating and husbands being the principal bread earner give men the superior position and power to beat their wives. Surprisingly, girls also confirmed husbands right to beat their female counterparts.