Are husbands justified in beating their wives? What Indians think
The fifth edition of the National Family Health Survey (NFHS) reveals there is a long way to go as far as attitudes toward domestic violence are concerned. People from 18 states and the union territory of Jammu and Kashmir were asked the following question: "In your opinion, is a husband justified in hitting or beating his wife?" Here's what they think.
- Not only men, but a large proportion of women in several states have also justified spousal violence targeting their gender.
- The survey findings are shocking, pointing to the deeply imbibed issues of patriarchy and misogyny in Indian society.
- The same survey also revealed that domestic violence faced by married women aged 18-49 more than doubled from 20.6% in 2014-15 to 44.5%.
Of the women surveyed, 83.8% in Telangana justified men beating their wives. Other states where a high percentage of women had a similar opinion are Andhra Pradesh (83.6%), Karnataka (76.9%), Manipur (65.9%), and Kerala (52.4%). In Himachal Pradesh, the least percentage of women (14.8%) voiced acceptance toward domestic violence. The survey results were released on Wednesday.
Among men, 81.9% in Karnataka said they would be justified in beating their wives. In Telangana, 70.4% of men had a similar opinion while 66.5% of men in Andhra Pradesh justified such behavior. The numbers were 34.4% and 21.3% for the northeastern states of Nagaland and Tripura, respectively. Himachal Pradesh again reported the most optimistic figures with 14.2% men justifying violence against married women.
The respondents were given seven situations as possible reasons for men to hit their wives. Of them, the two most commonly cited reasons were: 1) Showing disrespect to in-laws. 2) Neglecting the house and children. Other reasons listed in the survey were: if she goes out without telling him; if she argues with him; if she refuses to have sex with him, among others.
All in all, more than half of men surveyed justified spousal violence. Under the fourth edition of the NFHS conducted during 2015-2016, 52% of women surveyed had said it was justified for a husband to beat his wife while 42% of men also gave a similar response. The latest round of the government survey was carried out between 2019 and 2021.