Source: Reuters, November 17, 2000
NEW DELHI, INDIA: More than half of Indian women believe that wife-beating can be justified under certain circumstances, a survey on population and health published this week said. The survey of 90,000 women across the country -- conducted by the International Institute for Population Sciences at the initiative of the Health Ministry -- found that about 56 percent endorsed wife-beating on at least one of six grounds. Women's reluctance to report domestic violence included possibly the "culture of silence," fear and different perceptions among women about what constitutes violence. Forty percent of women agreed that wife-beating was justified for neglecting the house or children, and 37 percent felt that going out without informing their husbands constituted a valid reason. Disrespect to in-laws, suspicion of infidelity, inadequate dowry and improper cooking were also cited as acceptable grounds. The National Family Health Survey found that 20 percent of women had been physically mistreated since the age of 15, most commonly by the husband. The survey found that there was a divergence of views according to levels of education and between urban and rural women.