Sei sulla pagina 1di 12

RESEARCHES INTO DOMESTIC VIOLENCE IN BANGLADESH: A GAP IN UNDERSTANDING BEYOND GENDER RELATIONSHIP

INTRODUCTION Domestic violence is referred to in current literature by a number of phrases like, violence in the home, home violence, family violence, violence in the family, violence in families, and intra-family violence. Sometimes also by some evident characteristics of domestic violence it is referred to as intimate terror, intimate violence, silent violence, hidden violence, private violence, and so on. Under gender study, it has specific definitions under phrases like spousal violence, violence within marriage, marital violence, violence by husbands, violence against women, violence against wife, sexual violence or violence in sex, and gender violence. Sometimes, the word abuse like the word terror replaces the word violence to denote a different category of violence or similar occurrences within the periphery of a home. Particularly domestic violence as a discourse now enjoys a prominent focus under gender study and is found to be strongly influenced by gender discourses, so focused on merely gender relationship; it can be concluded given the abundance of researches on domestic violence obtained in web-searches by name and content discussing violence between males and females within marital or intimate relationships as gender violence. In web searches and bibliographic searches and within the available published researches, different forms of violence as exercised in occurrences of abuse of power at the household level in different household relationships are little explored, compared to the violence within marital and intimate relationships. This research monograph will look into research works on domestic violence in Bangladesh and review to what extent those researches explore the extent and diversity of domestic violence that exists within our households. In our culture, we can trace practical uses of the proverbs like wSK gi eK kLvbv (jhi ke merey bou ke sekhano- to teach the guilt a lesson by railing at the innocent) in our day to day life. Despite its evident gender bias tone and phrasing, it demonstrates that violence exists in various forms with various consequences within the households, for example indiscriminate choice of the oppressor, coercion, panic and fear, culture of domination and influence, sub-ordination and consequences, and so on; many of such behaviours are gender irrespective, we usually find. Learning violence in various forms within households by the members of a family has different societal consequences. A family accommodates itself a number of people of different relationships amongst themselves like parents, children, siblings, bloodrelatives, distant relatives, paid/un-paid domestic assistants, and trusted service providers to the households. And age, sex and dominant gender roles in any specific society, financial autonomy and other independence, education and social status, power relationships, culture and habits as are practised at homes involving available communication and entertainment media, cultural practices and observations, exposure to

outside home violence- all have their respective effects on domestic violence within the households. We are now-a-days referring to a lack of home based teaching for behaviour codes and conducts, while we confront ever increasing eve-teasing, child abuses and yet still child marriages. While we may argue whether events of eve teasing or acid violence are causes of domestic violence or themselves domestic violence, we can undoubtedly refer to the murder of 16-year S, the daughter of one of the wealthiest families in Bangladesh, as a case of domestic violence. Gender study alone or gender focused study of violence particularly that of domestic violence is not enough to grasp the context and causes of the current day behaviours of crime, intolerance, extremism and social practices. The focus needs to be widened; a deeper understanding of domestic violence is needed. Therefore, my work here looks into the current day researches into domestic violence.

LITERATURE SURVEY A 2005 report of the Law Commission of Bangladesh proposed a Domestic Violence Act which gives a comparatively wide encompassing definition to domestic violence. Any or more than one of the following acts exhibited by any member of the family, excluding a child or handicapped adult, against any other member of the family, will be considered domestic violence: Physical abuse including assaulting, damaging the physical beauty of a spouse by torture, indecently abusing, beating and maltreating the wife by the husband on being drunk, torturing the wife by the husband being influenced by others, maltreatment, misbehavior, torture or assault upon a domestic servant by any member of the family; Sexual abuse including compelling the wife to cohabit with anybody other than the husband; forcibly marrying a religiously prohibited woman or establishing illicit sexual connection with such woman voluntarily or otherwise; any kind of sexual abuse including sexual harassment of a member of the family; and Psychological abuse including (i) intimidation, harassment, denial of food or drink for adequate sustenance, denial of salary or expenses, threat of physical or psychological abuse by any member of the family to the other or others; (ii) inducing or compelling a spouse to commit attempted suicide through continued oppression by any member of the family; (iii) blaming a spouse of immorality without any rational basis; (iv) threatening to divorce a wife on demand of dowry by the husband; (v) baselessly blaming or imputing insanity, or citing barrenness of a spouse with the intention to marry again or to get a male member of the family married again; (vi) bringing false allegation upon the character of a female member by any member of the family; (vii) keeping a female member of the family disconnected with her father, mother, child, sibling and other relatives; (viii) threatening to get a male member of the family remarried by the other member or members of the family on the ground of the female spouse giving repeated birth to female children; (ix) disallowing the children to see their father or mother during their separate living, being divorced or otherwise; (x) torturing the parents or any other member of the family by the husband being instigated by the wife; (xi) confining or detaining the victim against the will of the victim; (xii) causing mischief or destruction or removal of the victims property or personal belongings or documents and papers. Still waiting to be a comprehensive law on domestic violence, the proposition covers domestic servants within the domestic sphere, though still with certain obvious gender biases.

Bangladesh Demographic Survey report 2007 states that domestic violence is a criminal offence in Bangladesh. It refers to the Cruelty to Women (Deterrent Punishment) Ordinance of 1983, the Repression against Women and Children (Special Enactment) Act XVII of 1995, the Women and Children Repression Act of 2000 and its amendments of 2003, the Acid Crime Control Act of 2002, as the legal provisions for protection from and prevention of domestic violence that are found to be especially focused on women and children. Similar legal provisions are also being developed and some are already done in areas of child rights while Bangladesh is ratifying different international instruments like convention against torture. Yet, a well circulated magazine, by a renowned womens rights organization, by name Gender Barta (STD, 2005) though questions the definition of domestic violence, continues to retain its study focus on women, . . . debate on whether it should essentially be limited to torture on wife . . . or can it be between a brother and a sister or other relations. . . . in general terms, domestic violence means torture of a member of a family by other members. . . . In Bangladesh, due to strict patriarchal social patterns and tradition, usually women are the main victims of domestic violence. STD reports that lack of data on domestic violence in true essence appears to be an insurmountable challenge for study into domestic violence. In the same way, the STD in their gender and development publication (Shahin Rahman, 2007, 185), presents domestic violence in the context of violence against women: Domestic violence is a threatening social problem across the world, where women are the main victims. Such constructs, as consider all women and girls in one group and address their concerns in different work set-ups, but do not specify at all the violence against paid or unpaid female or male domestic workers, are found a number of times in available researches (e.g. Sharmeen A Farouk, 2005). The subtle shift from domestic violence to gender violence or family violence or violence against women and eventually to spousal violence in existing research reports are not always explained and rationalized. Rather, in some studies, the phrases are just interchangeably used after certain definitions (Nusrat Ameen, 2005; Nari Pokkho 2008) and sometimes it is not even separately distinguished in gradual narrations (Lisa M Bates, et al, 2004; Kaosar Afsana et al 2005; Tonima Hadi 2009). However, a deliberate shift is acknowledged in the baseline report of the Nari Pokkho and the National Womens Council (prepared for a period till 2001 for a comparative regional presentation in a global platform): instead of domestic violence, family violence is preferred, so domestic violence beyond established family relationships are not considered. Even in researching into violence against women (Mahbub Kabir, 2003), though violence against domestic workers, particularly female domestic workers, is acknowledged, they are not classified as domestic violence, not any violence against women workers in home set-ups are considered domestic violence; and accordingly pre-cautions for misdeeds of female domestic workers were suggested, pre-cautions for misdeeds of employers are not specifically suggested. In Bangladesh many studies with phrases like domestic violence in titles in fact study spousal violence and consider domestic violence one facet of gender violence (Rachel Markus 1993; Koenig et al 2003; Sunita Kishor 2005; Khondker and Khasnobis 2007; 19

NGOs Report on UNCRC 2008; CPD Report 97, 2009). For example, the UNCRC Alternative Report of the 19 NGOs says: Forms of domestic violence constitute torture by husband, in laws, relatives, murder by husband, in laws. In at least 14 instances the victims were murdered as they protested polygamy of their husband and 3 women were reported to be tortured for the same. Without any specific definition for domestic violence the report puts women and children together as recipients of domestic violence, with distinct emphasis on spousal violence. The report however presents some statistics on violence against child domestic labour: There is no accurate survey of child domestic workers; the official figure of 125,000 appears to be a gross underestimation (BBS, 2004). A micro-survey by Shoishab Bangladesh in 1997 found 300,000 children working in Dhaka city (ASK, 2005). Existing estimates also suggest that 131 incidence of violence occurred against domestic child workers and 50% of domestic child worker died because of violence (ASK, 2005). Notwithstanding, the report concludes on this issue narrating that child domestic labours are also subject to domestic violence and violence against child domestic labours are not addressed in the ensuing domestic violence law, under a sub-title like this reports title Gaps in Addressing Domestic Violence. It can be summarized, a deliberate tendency is observed in hiding or non-recognizing domestic violence in wider context or domestic violence beyond spousal violence in major researches, for example violence against domestic workers are not reported or considered for inclusion in research studies, though some positive legal developments are underway. However, domestic violence starts getting place in development discourse (Dr Rangita de Silva de Alwis, 2009) only after an explosion of activism by global womens rights activists and the 1989 U.N. Commission on the Status of Women report on domestic violence, which reviewed over 250 articles, books and studies on various aspects of domestic violence. And domestic violence is treated as a major part of entire package of violence against women. The legacy is overwhelming. Complementarily, studies on children, particularly on those children staying alone on streets suggest that domestic violence is one of the major causes of their being away from home (Conticini and Hulme, 2006, 39), where understanding of domestic violence might include spousal violence and obviously certain aspects beyond spousal violence, by considering violence within the household and in the community as one of the causes of migration of children to streets, other than the commonly believed cause of economic poverty, and warrants social policy on violence that occurs in some households: Children move out of households to live on the street in Bangladesh not mainly because of economic poverty (a lack of access to food, income and basic needs) but because of domestic violence and the breakdown of trust in the adult members of their household (and community). The policy implications of this finding are profound. Accordingly, in a recent UN document (UNGA, Human Rights Commission, Critical Review, May 2009) the need for widening the scopes of definition of domestic violence is reiterated, particularly focusing on family structure and its definition in the context of domestic violence:

With regard to family violence, . . . despite the neutrality of the term, it must be defined by the broad range of womens experiences of violence within familial relationships that establish it as primarily gendered violence perpetrated by men against women. Conventionally, State protection with respect to domestic violence has been construed as covering only spousal violence, due to the limitations arising from institutional definitions of the family. Earlier on in the mandate, the report on violence in the family stressed the need to redefine the concept of family as the first step towards addressing domestic violence. By bringing to bear the wide-ranging experiences of women into international law, the mandate adopted a subjective definition of the family based on individual bonds of nurturance and care, to encompass difference and plurality of family forms rather than institutional, State-based definitions. The definition of the family has been expanded by the mandate to encompass intimate-partner and interpersonal relationships, including noncohabitating partners, previous partners and domestic workers. This has allowed inclusion of wives, live-in partners, former wives or partners, girl-friends (including girl-friends not living in the same house), female relatives (including but not restricted to sisters, daughters, mothers) and female household workers to be recipients of State protection. However, other UN organs namely ILO and UNICEF have been promoting diverse stakeholders roles and responsibilities against domestic violence against children for more than two decades. Like the focus on family and its structure as part of domestic violence, WHO in its World report on Violence and Health (Krug et al., 2002. p. 5) defines violence as: . . . the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, that either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, mal-development or deprivation. In the above mentioned report, violence is divided into three broad categories, according to who commits the violent acts: a) self-directed violence such as suicidal behaviour; b) collective violence such as violence by organized groups of people; and c) interpersonal violence that is violence between individuals. And nature of violent acts is considered to be of physical, sexual, emotional, or involving neglect or deprivation.

Domestic violence as a concept can be explained in eight categories- theory or context wise as follows, after reviewing and combining two different studies, namely Mary Barnish, 2004, and Vernellia R. Randall, 2003, with some evident links to theories of violence. Domestic violence as a concept can be explained under a number of social theories like: a) b) c) d) e) Feminist and socio-structural theories; Individual theories; Interpersonal theories; Social and learning theories; Rights theories;

and as of special contexts like: f) "cultural" explanations; g) "society-in-transition" explanations; and h) "culture of violence" explanations; Based on the above, we can summarise: current research studies on domestic violence in Bangladesh focus on marital violence mainly and in most research studies; domestic violence, in terms of experience of violence between any two individuals in any household set-ups is only partly dealt with, if at all. The hypothesis for this research monograph is set: - Interpersonal violence experiences of diverse natures exist within households amongst its members, which are yet to be explored, and can be explored using innovative tools and techniques.

PROPOSED METHODOLOGY The literature search for this research monograph included searches for both qualitative and quantitative data for a possible research based on secondary data. However, here mainly researches on Bangladesh or by Bangladeshi researchers around domestic violence are reviewed. A wide encompassing quantitative data set on domestic violence was not found. National Demographic and Health Survey data are found to be focused mainly on spousal violence. The questionnaire sets for surveys involving domestic violence and adolescents were also found to be biased to gender violence. Peer-reviewed journal articles, national demographic and health data base and reports, full research reports, summary and country status reports, policy documents (including major legal instruments), guidelines, and chapters in books, as were made available by the course faculty, as well as procured free from web-searches were consulted. Mostly free resources available in internet could be consulted, most of them are official documents and compiled for specific readerships. A few are only the abstracts and/or summaries of the full work. Key words were used to initiate the search for relevant literature, was and individual documents in turn were used to identify other relevant literature or organizational websites. The findings of the review are envisioned to offer valuable insights and possible directions for the proposed research as well as for the future researches on domestic violence. This review covers over 50 documents. The methodology will use both quantitative and qualitative research methods. The research will collect primary data through a sample survey. The quantitative component will consist of this sample household survey to be conducted in two sites- the capital city and one village. Respondents will be randomly selected across a wide ranging area (geographical location). In each of two sites, a sample of 10-15 respondents from each of all groups for the number of relation types will be contacted for responses. Relation types will be namely: employee-employer, either spouses, parents-children, either sex siblings, blood relatives, dependent relatives or temporary residents. For a representative sample of the respondents, both gender-relation (male and female) and age-relation (senior-junior) will be considered in specific respondent groups. Respondents of the pre-fixed equal sample-size for each relation type will be chosen randomly for an interview on a closed questionnaire. The questionnaire survey will also collect their major demographic information. Separate representative sample sets of persons with diverse disabilities will also be included from both sites.

The subject matter of the survey will be shared only with the respondent and will be requested for complete non-disclosure. Prevalence estimates for various forms of violence will be asked from respondents with direct questions about their experiences of specific acts of violence in a sensitive and respectful manner. Given the sensitivity of the study issues and corresponding respondents, the research will follow the ethical guideline devised and professed by the WHO for research on domestic violence. Besides the major demographic information, following information will be collected from each respondent: a) Household experience of violence on self; b) Self exposure to violence on others within the household in real or in other circumstances; c) Owns violent tendency or attitudes demonstrated (shown, shared and/or intended) within household; d) Frequency and severity of violence experienced/exposed to/demonstrated; e) f) Help-seeking behaviour and responses; g) Aspirations and dreams of respondents reporting violence concerning way out.

CONCLUSION At this point, I am tempted to just quote below part of a final note from a study commissioned by the US Department of Justice (1995) on criminalization of domestic violence that though focuses on violence against women under the broader title of domestic violence, but acknowledges: Without meaningful change in the structure of research and evaluation in domestic violence, a reviewer 5 or 10 years from now will likely reach the same conclusions reached in this review: We just dont know, the evaluation data arent very good. We could have said all this 5 years ago and actually did say it 10 years ago (Boruch, 1994). Lets not be embarrassed or embarrass ourselves by continuing on this frustrating path of fad-driven and nonsystematic policies with weak after-the-fact evaluations.

BIBLIOGRAPHY 1. 19 NGOs joint report (2008), CRC Alternative Report: Bangladesh 2007, A Critical
Analysis of CRC Reporting Trends and Implementation Status in Bangladesh, Save the Children Sweden Denmark

2. Afsana, Kaosar; Rashid, Sabina Faiz; Thurston, Wilfreda (2005), Challenges and Gaps in
addressing Domestic Violence in Health Policy of Bangladesh, Womens Participation in Domestic Violence Health Policy Development: Bangladesh Component, BRAC Bangladesh and University of Calgary, Canada (www.ucalgary.ca/wdvhp)

3. Aktaruzzaman, Khondker, Khasnobis, Basudeb Guha, 2006-07, Does Micro-Credit Increase


Domestic Violence? Evidence from Rural Bangladesh, Department of Economics, University of Helsinki, Finland (Internet search)

4. Alwis, Dr. Rangita de Silva de (2009) Legislative Reform on Selected Issues of Anti-Gender
Discrimination and Anti-Domestic Violence: the Impact on Children- Legislative Reform Initiative, Unicef (unpublished) 5. Ameen, Nusrat, 2005, Wife Abuse in Bangladesh, An Unrecognized Offence, Bangladesh National Women Lawyers Association (BNWLA)

6. Barnish, Mary (2004), Domestic Violence: A Literature Review, HM Inspectorate of


Probation (www.homeoffice.gov.uk/justice/probation/inspprob/index.html)

7. Bates, Lisa M., Sidney Ruth Schuler, Farzana Islam and Md. Khairul Islam (2004)
Socioeconomic Factors and Processes Associated With Domestic Violence in Rural Bangladesh, International Family Planning Perspectives, 2004, 30(4):190199

8. Bowman, Cynthia Grant, Theories of Domestic Violence in the African Context, American
University Journal of Gender, Social Policy and the Law 11(2), 847-863 (2003)

9. Conticini, Alessandro and Hulme, David (2006), Escaping Violence, Seeking Freedom: Why
Children In Bangladesh Migrate To The Street, The work was part of the Programme of the ESRC Global Poverty Research Group. (http://www.gprg.org/)

10. CPD (2009), Domestic Violence in Bangladesh Cost Estimates and Measures to Address the
Attendant Problems, A CPD Dialogue Report

11. Fagan, Jeffrey (1996), The Criminalization of Domestic Violence: Promises and Limits,
Research Report Presentation at the 1995 conference on criminal justice research and evaluation of National Institute of Justice of the Office of Justice Programs, US Department of Justice 12. Farouk, Sharmeen A.(2005), "Violence against women: a statistical overview, challenges and gaps in data collection and methodology and approaches for overcoming them", BLAST Report for Expert Group meeting of UN Division for the Advancement of Women and WHO 13. Government of Peoples Republic of Bangladesh, The Law Commission, A Final report on The Proposed Law on Domestic Violence along with a draft Bill namely the Domestic Violence Act 200., December, 2005

(http://www.wcwonline.org/pdf/lawcompilation/Bangladesh-DomesticViolence%20Law %20draft.pdf)

14. Hadi, Syeda Tonima (2009), Its OK to beat my wife? Patriarchal Perceptions of
Bangladeshi Respondents and Factors Associated, Bangladesh e-Journal of Sociology. Volume 6. Number 2. July 2009.

15. Kabir, Mahmud, 2003, evsjv`ki bvix (Bangladesher Nari- Women of Bangladesh),
Suchipatra, Dhaka

16. Kishor, Sunita (2005), Domestic violence measurement in the demographic and health
surveys: The history and the challenges, abstracted from: Profiling Domestic Violence: A Multi-Country Study by Sunita Kishor and Kiersten Johnson, Calverton, Maryland: ORC Macro 2004

17. Koenig, Michael A., Saifuddin Ahmed, Mian Bazle. Hossain, and A.B.M. Khorshed Alam
Mozumder. 2003. Womens status and Domestic Violence in Rural Bangladesh: Individualand Community-level Effects. Demography 40(2): 269-288. (abstract)

18. Markus, Rachel (1993), Violence against women in Bangladesh, Pakistan, Egypt, Sudan,
Senegal and Yemen, IDS Bridge Development Gender Report 10

19. Munni, Shaheda Ferdousi, Cf wUwRs ivgvwUKZv bq, bvix wbhvZb (Eve
Teasing, Romantikota Noy Nari Nirjaton- Eve Teasing- Nor romantic rather oppression), Dbqb c`c (Unnayan Podokkhep- Steps Towards Development), V 12, Issue 3, Mar 2006

20. Nari Pokkho and other women focused organizations (2008), Thematic Report on Violence
Against Women: Working Paper for Alternative Report to CEDAW

21. Naripokkho and Bangladesh Mahila Parishad, Baseline Report: Violence Against Women in
Bangladesh, at International Womens Rights Action Watch Asia Pacific

22. NIPORT, USAID, et al, (2008), Bangladesh Demographic and Health Survey 2007 23. Rahman, Shaheen, 2007, Rvi cm (Gender Proshongo- Gender Issues), Steps
Towards Development, Dhaka

24. Rashid, Mamunur (eds), Say Domestic Violence is a Crime and Violation of Womens
Human Rights, Steps, Issue 4, 2005, pp 23-32

25. UN (2009), 15 Years Of The United Nations Special Rapporteur On Violence Against
Women, Its Causes And Consequences (1994-2009) - A Critical Review, May 2009

26. UNDP Bangladesh 1999, National Gender Profile: Bangladesh National Gender Profile
1999, Bikalpa Printing Press, Dhaka

27. WHO (2001), Putting Women First: Ethical and Safety Recommendations for Research on
Domestic Violence Against Women, 2001

28. WHO (2005), Summary Report, Multi-country Study on Womens Health and Domestic
Violence against Women,
--