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Unicef report reveals Indian men, women think wife beating justified

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A report by Unicef says that 57 percent of young Indian men in the 15-19 age bracket think that wife beating is justified, according to a report in The Times of India on Wednesday.

Unicef's “Global Report Card on Adolescents 2012” also showed that 53 percent of adolescent girls in India also believed that a husband is justified in beating his wife.

The attitudes were similar in Sri Lanka where 54 percent of women agreed and in Bangladesh where 41 percent of women justified beatings.
However, the report found that in Nepal attitudes towards the justification of domestic violence were shockingly high with 88 percent of men and 80 percent of women saying it was fine for husbands to beat their wives.

Such attitudes were responsible for girls and women becoming more vulnerable to abuse the U.N. agency wrote.

“Available data for developing countries show that nearly 50 percent of girls and women aged 15-49 believe that wife beating is justified ... girls aged between 15 and 19 years hold the same views as women in the 45-49 age group,” the report said.

Unicef goes on to say that it believes that because the issue is under-reported, the figures could be larger.

Many factors contribute to domestic violence, it said, citing child marriage, gender inequality in relationships, finances as well as traditional attitudes on what is considered acceptable or not.

“When girls are brought up with the message that a woman’s status in a family is inferior, she starts to accept whatever behavior is meted out by her husband or in-laws,” said Mission director for India’s National Rural Health Mission Anuradha Gupta.

“When a boy grows up seeing his father assault his mother, he starts to accept such a behavior and repeats it,” Gupta was quoted by the Times of India as saying.