202257 Justifications for wife beating among Iraqi women

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 10:30 AM

Susan B. Sorenson, PhD , School of Social Policy and Practice, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA
Background. Little is known about attitudes toward domestic violence in low- and middle-income countries. Less yet is known about such attitudes in the Middle East.

Methods. Data are from Iraq's 2006 Multiple Indicator Cluster Survey (MICS3), an in-person representative sample survey. Response rates were high: 98.6% of the selected households and 98.6% of the selected 15-49 year old women participated. Women (N=27186) were asked whether a husband would be justified in beating his wife under five specific circumstances. Simple frequencies and multivariate logistic regressions were calculated.

Results. Nearly 60% of study participants said that a husband was justified in beating his wife: 48.8% if she goes out without telling him, 42.9% if she neglects the children, 37.5% if she argues with him, 34.2% if she refuses sex, and 20.6% if she burns the food. AORs indicate that women's beliefs that a husband is justified in beating his wife in each of these circumstances were higher among those who were married, less educated, and from rural areas. Among the married, those who were less educated, from rural areas, married to a blood relative (59.0% of the sample) were more likely and those who were over the age of 22 when married (26.8% of the sample) were less likely to report that a husband is justified in beating his wife.

Conclusions. Iraqi women appear to support wife beating most when the woman has violated her traditional role as a woman, a mother, and lastly, as a wife.

Learning Objectives:
Describe demographic characteristics linked to support for wife beating in Iraq. Name population-level changes that may reduce support for wife beating in Iraq.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted the literature review, the statistical analysis, and wrote the abstract.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.