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57% adolescent girls think wife beating is justified

Unicef's Global Report Card on Adolescents 2012 revealed some shocking figures. More than 50% adolescents in the 15-19 age group, from both the sexes, think that wife beating is justified.

If that is not all – some other figures were slightly more staggering – 57% of the boys and 53% of the girls think that domestic violence in the form of wife beating is perfectly justifiable.

So perhaps the general thought process of the Indian male has managed to proliferate the mind of the women – in fact so much so that 53% of the girls feel that husbands can beat up their wives.

In comparison to the Indian female, 41% women in Bangladesh and 54% in Sri Lanka harbour a similar thoughts . In Nepal, however, the prevalence of both men and women justifying domestic violence is inordinately high at 88% and 80%.

According to the report, societal attitudes that convey acceptance or justification of domestic violence are making girls and women more vulnerable to abuse. It says, "Available data for developing countries show that nearly 50% of girls and women aged 15-49 believe that wife beating is justified..."

The report explains that because of reporting bias, the figures may be an under-estimation of the actual size of the problem in several countries. The report also cites reasons such as child marriage, gender-based power relations, women's low economic status and traditional practices or social norms as reasons for domestic violence.

Mission director for India's National Rural Health Mission, Anuradha Gupta said, spousal violence takes place both in developed and developing countries "though the degree would vary" . She said, "When girls are brought up with the message that a woman's status in a family is inferior, she starts to accept whatever behaviour is meted out by her husband or in-laws ." She added, "When a boy grows up seeing his father assault his mother, he starts to accept such a behavior and repeats it."

Ranjana Kumari, director of Centre for Social Research, said, "Most women think this is their fate. Education or economic prosperity alone can't improve the situation."

Some women apparently consider domestic violence as 'fate' since societal norms have been such over the ages. However it is appalling that despite a rise in education levels has still not changed the mindset of the youth and the country still seems fated to live according to a set up that is almost feudal.
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