The Psychology of Trauma

Domestic Violence

How do attitude towards domestic violence vary across cultures?

The feminist movement brought the problem of domestic violence to public attention only within recent decades. Most industrialized countries now recognize the problem and have laws against it. For example, in Canada there were 524 shelters for battered women by 2002. In other developing countries, such as South Africa, there are laws prohibiting domestic violence but enforcement is a problem and there is little government support for public education against domestic violence or for shelters for battered women. Still other countries, such as Bulgaria or Zimbabwe, have no laws against domestic violence. In many cultures, popular attitudes promote a tolerance of domestic violence. The problem is minimized by the family and community as well as by judicial and medical systems, and both men and women believe a man has the right to physically “discipline” his wife.


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