Focus on Domestic Violence in Bangladesh: A Study from Criminological Perspectives

By Rahman, Khandaker Farzana | Journal of International Women's Studies, March 2019 | Go to article overview

Focus on Domestic Violence in Bangladesh: A Study from Criminological Perspectives


Rahman, Khandaker Farzana, Journal of International Women's Studies


Introduction

Domestic violence against women has been an issue of concern and urgency for a long time now. These heinous acts of crime are mainly perpetrated against women in the form of physical, sexual, psychological or social abuse. These violent acts are so alarmingly prevalent; global estimates are that 1 out of 3 or approximately 35% of women have experienced some sort of physical or sexual abuse from intimate or non-partner violence at some point of their life (WHO, 2017). While this type of violence remains generally pervasive, the range is estimated to be from 23.2% in high income countries to 37.7% in the WHO South-East Asia regions (WHO, 2017). Within South-East Asian countries, Bangladesh has a high rate of domestic violence that continues to hinder the country's equality and development. However, according to the Bangladesh Bureau of Statistics (BBS), domestic violence in Bangladesh has seen a decrease. Survey data shows that the rate of domestic violence has fallen from 87% in 2011 to 77% in 2013 and then to 72.6% in 2016 (The Future Law Initiative, 2016). Arguably, there may be underreporting issues that have contributed to the noted statistical declines, but there is also reason to believe that promotion of equality may be a contributing factor. Nonetheless, each year, in spite of the above mentioned statistical decline, a record number of women in Bangladeshi society face persistent violence brought on by their own families. There is direct evidence that regulatory policies focused on women and legal protection programs, equal income and wage for similar work, equal opportunity in political and social life, have promoted the empowerment of women (Centre for Research and Information, 2018).

A significant number of laws and regulations have been implemented in Bangladesh to address domestic abuse and inequality, including the 2010 Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act and its corresponding rules (The Daily Star, 2013), the Prevention of Repression of Women and Children Act of 2000 and the Penal Code, 1860 (Khan, 2014). Despite these legal and regulatory protections violence against women is still continuing. There has been much work done on the causes and impacts of domestic violence from socio-legal perspectives; however, no significant work in Bangladesh has been done on the criminological or psychological reasoning of domestic violence from a perspective of the perpetrators. This paper attempts to understand the underlying psychological influences or causes that lead the offenders to adopt violence and the factors that shape their suppressive and hostile attitudes in the first place, especially in Bangladesh.

Methodology

This paper relies on qualitative data to understand the rationale for domestic violence, the relevant criminological theories, and the current trends and pattern of domestic violence in Bangladesh. Through content analysis, secondary sources have been used to support the literature and develop a more objective understanding of the phenomenon of domestic violence in a country context as well. Secondary data analysis primarily included newspapers, journals, articles, books, internet publications, online journal and articles, online opinionated write-ups like blogs, and online archives of governmental and non-governmental organizations.

In addition to these resources, a survey using the quantitative survey method was conducted in some parts of Dhaka to understand the relationship between a perpetrator and his psychological background of deviance or criminality. The surveyed sample is representative of the population of people living in geographically recognized economically disadvantaged areas in three distinct slum (2) areas of Dhaka: Begunbari, Shahjahanpur and Karwanbazar Railway Slum.

The paper has concentrated on mixed methods of research as a mixed method is more likely to add value by increasing validity in the findings, informing the collection of the second data source, and assisting with knowledge creation (McKim, 2017:203). …

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