A Survey Experiment of Women’s Attitudes about Intimate Partner Violence against Women in Rural Bangladesh

Kathryn M. Yount, Emory University
Nafisa Halim, University of New Mexico
Sara K. Head, Emory University
Sidney Ruth Schuler, Academy for Educational Development (AED)

In the Demographic and Health Surveys, 4%–90% of women report that wife hitting or beating is justified. Yet, the sensitivity of women’s responses to alterations of this attitudinal question is unknown. In 496 female participants in a survey experiment in rural Bangladesh, we explored response effects to versions of the attitudinal question in the 2007 Bangladesh DHS that followed its original wording, portrayed the wife as not-at-fault in the five situations to which the question was applied, and portrayed the wife as at-fault in these five situations. Portraying the wife as not-at-fault resulted in low probabilities of justifying wife hitting or beating (0.01–0.09). Portraying the wife as at-fault resulted in higher, more variable probabilities of this response (0.41–0.70), which resembled those when the original situations were used (0.38–0.57). Better data on women’s adherence (or not) to norms of wife blaming for violence may inform interventions to promote ideational change.

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Presented in Session 31: Gender Based Violence