Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Factors That Affect Women's Attitudes toward Domestic Violence in Turkey

Academic journal article Violence and Victims

Factors That Affect Women's Attitudes toward Domestic Violence in Turkey

Article excerpt

This article examines the attitudes of Turkish women toward justification of intimate partner violence. The data were gathered from the 2003 Turkey Demographic and Health Survey. A random sample of 8,075, aged 15-49, participated in the survey. The findings underline the importance of patriarchal beliefs and the associated practice of brides-money in addition to rural residence, large household, illiteracy, lack of wealth, and younger age at marriage as the sources of acceptance of violence among women. The study provides a theoretical explanation for how patriarchal ideology is translated into an accepting attitude toward violence and also discusses the factors that serve as mechanisms that help women resist patriarchal hegemony and not justify domestic violence against women. The final section of the article addresses policy implications.

Keywords : Turkey; women; attitude; violence

Domestic violence persists worldwide as a pervasive social problem, and despite the unjustness and one-sidedness of intimate partner violence (IPV), many studies show a seemingly high attitudinal tolerance for IPV among women internationally (c.f. UNICEF, 2007). Although attitudes of tolerance may have stronger predictive power of IPV than "tangible" factors such as education and poverty (Faramarzi, Esmailzadeh, & Mosavi, 2005), the literature exploring the roots of blaming-the-victim attitudes among women is a relatively undeveloped field.

The origins of these values are usually framed in the literature as adherence to the ideology underlying culturally rooted traditions of submission to men, and change is couched in terms of social processes that distance women and men from traditional culture. Less is known, however, about the particular avenues in which women's attitudinal structures adopt values of acceptance for domestic violence and the characteristics of women who live within a patriarchal culture yet are not tolerant of IPV. This article reports on research that sought to (1) identify variables that correlate with tolerance for IPV and (2) place these relationships in a theoretical context in order to provide conceptual continuity for this small, but growing area of investigation.


IPV is the most common form of violence women experience globally (United Nations, 2006). IPV is known to have devastating effects on women's psychological and physiological well-being, creating problems such as anxiety, depression, infertility, bodily injury, and death (Ahmed, Koening, & Stephenson, 2006; Ascencio, 1999; Campbell, 2002 ; Heise, Ellsberg, & Gottemoeller, 1999; Hortacsu, Kalaycioglu, & Rittersberger-Tilic, 2003; Koenig et al., 2003; Kramer, Lorenzon, & Mueller, 2004). Furthermore, the costs of IPV extend beyond mental and bodily harm to women; hindering women's participation in the labor market and reducing their productivity, IPV retards national economic development (Sen, 1998). In Latin America, for example, women who are abused by their intimate partner "earn much less than their non-abused peers, which amounts to an estimated regional wage loss of 1.6 to 2.0 percent of GDP" (Morrison & Biehl, 1999, p. xi).

Despite the harm of IPV, a growing literature on attitudes toward violence reveals a widespread trend among both women and men in various parts of the world, regardless of level of economic development, toward justification of violence against women. Studies have estimated that between 14% and 69% of Palestinian women accept wife beating under certain conditions such as disobeying or refusing to have sex with the husband (Haj-Yahia, 1998). Lawoko's (2006) study shows an overwhelming (85%) acceptance of IPV among women in Zambia, and Hindin (2003) found that 61% of women in rural areas and 36% of women in urban locales in Zimbabwe believe that wife beating is justified. In Nigeria, 66.4% of ever-married and 50.4% of unmarried women show support for IPV (Oyediran & Isiugo-Abenihe, 2005). …

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