Dhaka, Oct 22 - Thirty-six percent of Bangladeshi women say it is all right for a man to beat his wife if she is disrespectful to elders, goes out without permission or neglects children, states a government survey. It also says that 46 percent of married women in the country are slapped by their husbands.
Nine percent of them justify wife-bashing for refusal to have sex when they do not want to. They feel that denying sex is an acceptable reason for a man to beat up his wife, according to the fifth and latest Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey (BDHS) 2007.
Four percent of men who were surveyed also justified wife-beating for refusing sex.
Eighteen percent women are forced to have sex by their husbands even if they do not want to.
Women residing in Chittagong in the south and Sylhet in the northeast, the regions where people are outgoing, experience less physical violence compared to women in other divisions.
In a society where joint families are a norm and where two or three generations share a home, disobeying parents-in-law is a major cause of friction among spouses, leading to wife-bashing.
A total of 36 percent women believe that a husband is justified in hitting his wife for any of these reasons, states the survey.
Twenty-four percent women believe that a husband beating up his wife for disobeying elders is justified, followed by 22 percent who believe that arguing with husbands is okay, 18 percent for going out without telling their husbands while 16 percent for neglecting children.
Argumentative wives are another reason for spousal violence. Men are most likely to justify beating their wives if they argue with them (25 percent), followed by showing disrespect to elders (23 percent), The Daily Star newspaper said Thursday.
Like women, men are least likely to say that refusal to have sex (4 percent) is a ground for wife beating. About 16 percent of men feel that neglecting the children or going out without telling them are justifiable reasons for wife beating.
The study showed that the most common act of physical violence is slapping. Forty-six percent married women were being slapped by their husbands.
Almost 17 percent of married women reported that their husbands punch them or with something that can hurt them. Fifteen percent of women are victims of kicking, dragging and beating. An equal percentage reported that their husbands twist their arms or pulled their hair.
Sexual violence is lowest in Sylhet and Khulna while highest in Barisal. Twenty-one percent of married women in Barisal reported sexual violence, followed by 20 percent of women in Dhaka.
Bangladesh Mahila Parishad president Ayesha Khanam told The Daily Star: "Vigorous campaigns about the rights of women are the best way to stop such violence. This is really unfortunate that male partners or husbands here think that without torturing their female partners, their power is not being exercised." (IANS)