Domestic Violence A Cross Cultural View

Wife battering is prevalent and part of the normal family dynamic in India because of rising economic expectations and the problems are acted out at home. Alcohol is widely available, and a good part of wife battering is said to occur because the drinking helps to alleviate the feeling of hopelessness that accompanies poverty.  Additionally, the culture as a whole does not place a great deal of value on women, the role of the woman, and the ability of the women to be a breadwinner. Women are seen as the matriarch of the family and their cultural value seems to be bringing forth as many sons as humanly possible. Because women are not seen as helpful with the stresses of the country’s economic woes, they bear the brunt of the family’s stress—literally.

Industrialization and modernization have led to increased child abuse in India because of an environment conducive to this phenomenon. There is now great competition and upward mobility amongst children, and there is strict discipline in the family. There is less support to raise children and fewer people to share the household tasks as the family moves away from the joint family. It is notable that gender specific child abuse occurs against females. This is because of the strong preference for male children. Girls move away from the family when they marry and cannot contribute to the family upkeep. In India’s culture, boys are more likely to stay within the family household and care for his parents into their elderly years. Girls are not actively killed, they are just neglected so badly they often die from lack of care. Additionally, more abortions occur when the parents discover they are expecting a female.

In Vietnam, men act as kings in the home while women work and are the breadwinners of the household. After working shifts of hard labor, Vietnamese women return home and spend five to six more hours doing housework. This is called “invisible violence”, because while there may not be physical violence within the relationship, intimidation and fear drive the relationship. “Visible violence” is actual physical violence. One study found that 17.5% of deaths in 1992 in Vietnam were caused by family violence.


— Katelyn

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