Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Community Perceptions and Activisms regarding Domestic Violence against Women: Perspectives from Rural Bangladesh

Academic journal article Journal of Community Positive Practices

Community Perceptions and Activisms regarding Domestic Violence against Women: Perspectives from Rural Bangladesh

Article excerpt

Introduction

Domestic violence or violence that takes place at home against women accounts for a major portion of the violence that occurs worldwide against women (Perillia, et al. 2011). It imposes enormous burden for women throughout the world and transcends in all social, economic, religious and cultural groups (Kyu & Kani, 2005). Specifically, domestic violence which is perpetrated by the husband or intimate partner is the major form of violence in the world and happens in all countries, cultures and social classes (WHO, 2002). Domestic violence against women by their husbands is widely prevalent and deep-rooted problem in Bangladesh although it is frequently misinterpreted as a private issue. It has been estimated that 50% of the murders of women in Bangladesh are committed by women's husbands (Heise, 1993 quoted in Khan, 2005). Different available empirical studies in Bangladesh also reported high rates of various forms of wife abuse ranging from 39% to 79% (Bates et al., 2004; Schular et al., 1996; Salam et al. 2006; Koenig et al., 2003; Naved, 2013). Studies on domestic violence in Bangladesh have the examined number of issues including forms and practices, causes and consequences, help-seeking and coping strategies particularly from victims' perspectives. Nevertheless, none of the study in Bangladesh has ever attempted to explore community perception and activism with regard to domestic violence. My research is an attempt to fill-in that gap in the existing literature.

Community is defined as a local social arrangement beyond the private sphere of home and family (Crow and Allan, 1994). Community may be small in scale but solid in structure and responds at the grassroots to fundamental human problems (Nisbert, 1960 quoted in Poplin, 1972). Community influences many aspects in our lives and patterns of actions including violence against women. Preventing domestic violence requires commitment from and engagement of the whole community (Michau, 2005). The aspect of community who are within women's networks rarely studied in relation to domestic violence, yet in the long run it may prove to be a key resource not only in establishing safety for women but also in beginning to decrease the prevalence of domestic violence (Kelly, 1996). Community networks know about domestic violence long before any outside agency. Community can either recognise it as a problem, can support women who are abused or ignore it (Kelly, 1996), and the risk associated with domestic violence even increases when the cause of the abuse is seen 'legitimate' by the community (Rao, 1997). However, community attitudes and actions with respect to domestic violence provide valuable information about the environment of domestic violence in a particular social setting (Abeya, et al., 2012).

Under the contextual premises mentioned above, I was strongly motivated to conduct a research in order to explore the perceptions and activisms of rural community in Bangladesh with regard to domestic violence. The main research question was; what are the perception and activism of the majority Bengali rural community with regard to domestic violence against women? The sub-question was; what are the perception and activism of ingenious Garo community with regard to domestic violence against women? The reason to bring Garo community's perspective was find out the similarities and differences patriarchal community perspective and that of matriarchal community perspective. Notably, Garo is the only matriarchal indigenous ethnic group in Bangladesh. By domestic violence, I meant violence that is directed against women by their husbands, and by community members, I meant only the important members of a rural setting who are involved in different community matters and community problems.

Research Design

I conducted the study through interpretive qualitative research approach. Researchers in interpretive approach assume that there is not just one empirical world; everyone has their own personal views and perspectives of reality (Thiel 2014). …

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