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#Discrimination: Six out of ten Indian men admit to violence against wife or partner

Six out of ten Indian men admit to violence against their wives or partners, according to a report released on Monday.

The report by the United Nations World Population Fund (UNFPA) and the Washington-based International Centre for Research on Women, also found that men who experienced discrimination as children or faced financial stresses were more likely to be abusive.

Researchers questioned more than 9200 men aged between 18 and 49 across seven Indian states on a issues such as masculinity, domestic violence and preference for male children. 

Violence was defined as including emotional, physical and sexual abuse as well as “economic” abuse in which a man did not permit his wife or partner to work or took her earnings against her will. 

The report, titled ‘Masculinity, Intimate Partner Violence and Son Preference’, also reveals that men who experience financial pressures were more likely to have perpetrated violence ever or in the past year. 

The study reveals that men who had experienced discrimination as children were four times more likely to be violent towards their partners.

The highest reports of violence came from Odisha and Uttar Pradesh, according to the report, with more than 70 percent of men in these regions admitting to being abusive towards their wives and partners.

More than 38 percent of all crimes committed against women in India in 2013 were those registered under the charge of cruelty by husband or his relatives, according to the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB).

Such crimes make up the largest proportion of crimes against women in the country, with 118,866 cases of cruelty by husband or his family reported from a total of 309,546, says the NCRB.

The study further found that more than half of 3158 polled said they had experienced some form of violence during their lifetime.

Physical abuse such as being kicked, slapped, choked and burned was the most commonly reported, with 38 percent of women saying they had faced such abuse. This was followed by emotional, sexual and economic violence respectively.

The reason less women reported being victims than men reported being violent was a feeling of shame or fear of social stigma, said the report.

They may have also believed such acts were normal in a relationship and expected men to exert some control on their lives, it added.

Shockingly, the report found that women who were discriminated against as children were three to six times more likely to experience violence later on in life.

“Women who experienced and observed discrimination or violence growing up are more likely to justify it as adults and may therefore not resist circumstances that may trigger intimate partner violence,” the report said.

The head of UNFPA in India, Frederika Meijer, said that this research into the causes of violence would help to structure programmes to engage men and boys more effectively.

“It identifies triggers that could enable them to become change agents in addressing gender discrimination,” Meijer said.

– Written by Nita Bhalla for Thompson Reuters Foundation/Edited for the UKAsian by Viji Alles

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