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Women's Rights, Domestic Violence, and Recourse Seeking in Rural Bangladesh

NCJ Number
Violence Against Women Volume: 14 Issue: 3 Dated: March 2008 Pages: 326-345
Sidney Ruth Schuler; Lisa M. Bales; Farzana Islam
Date Published
March 2008
20 pages
This article explores in depth the range of responses to domestic violence (DV) against women by their husbands in a traditional rural setting, examines women’s options for recourse, and tries to better understand the reasons that abused women so seldom seek recourse and with so little success.
The findings from this study show that abused women in rural settings are discouraged from seeking recourse to domestic violence and that the likelihood of a favorable outcome is decreased when they do seek help area a result of the combination of poverty and gender inequality, inequities in the legal framework, and patriarchal attitudes and corruption in both formal and informal institutions at the local level. An increasing number of studies show the prevalence, determinants, and consequences of violence against women in less developed countries. The study was conducted in Bangladesh, where available data suggest the prevalence of DV is very high. Data were collected from 110 in-depth interviews (3 men, 107 women) and 16 small group discussions conducted between 2001 and 2004 in 3 villages in rural Bangladesh. The villages were poor and somewhat conservative and did not have any significant characteristics that made them stand out. The data clearly shows that poor women in rural Bangladesh do not seek recourse when confronted with DV within their marriage due to the ways that DV is intertwined with poverty and gender inequality. Policies and interventions to address the problem of DV in Bangladesh are discussed. Notes, references