34% of women say men are justified in hitting wives if they argue back: Pakistan survey

Published: January 26, 2014
One of the most common forms of violence against women worldwide is abuse by their husband or partner. PHOTO: ONLINE

One of the most common forms of violence against women worldwide is abuse by their husband or partner. PHOTO: ONLINE

The Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) recently issued a comprehensive report in which, among various other questions,  respondents  were asked to choose reasons for which it is justified for a husband to hit his wife. 

The 2012-13 PDHS includes results from completed interviews with 13,558 women and 3,134 men age 15-49, all of whom have been married at least once in their lives.

The report summarised findings from between 2012 and 2013 on various topics including maternal and child health, infant mortality levels, immunisation and awareness regarding HIV/AIDS.

The section ‘Women’s empowerment and demographic and health outcomes’ included a survey on attitudes towards domestic violence. The respondents were presented with six reasons that may be used to justify wife beating.

The six circumstances were: if the wife burns the food, if she argues with him, if she goes out without telling him, if she neglects the children, if she refuses to have sexual intercourse with him and if she neglects her in-laws. Respondents were allowed to choose multiple reasons.

The most widely accepted reason for wife beating among women in Pakistan is arguing with the husband (34%). 28% of women agree that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she neglects her in-laws and 18% agreed that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she burns the food.

Similar to the pattern among women, men are least likely to agree that burning the food is a valid reason for wife beating.

The majority of men (19.8%) felt that the most justified reason for beating their wife was the wife going out without telling him.

They also show similar levels of support for the other five reasons (16-20%), although at much lower levels than among women.

Across all six reasons, women voted in higher numbers than men. Among the respondents, 66% of men didn’t agree with any of the reasons mentioned while the percentage among women was 57.5%.

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Reader Comments (25)

  • Girl with scarf
    Jan 31, 2014 - 7:45PM

    ‘reasons for which it is justified for a husband to hit his wife’ seriously? in any circumstances hitting your wife can not be justified.


  • Siddiqui
    Jan 31, 2014 - 7:55PM

    Well theres more to this report than you have presented here. You have put forward a very small section of the survey report. Perhaps you could have summarised other results, for example, has there been reduction in violence in last 12 months, or what are the demographics of the families where this kind of violence is common, or does the presence of children reduce the occurrence of violence, or are the husband inspired to commit violence by their fathers, or what is the role of education in reducing the violence etc.

    at author:
    There’s so much in the report for us to ponder upon. Its such a shame that you have chosen to discuss just a single point. News reports are supposed to inform and educate us of the things we don’t know. They are not a tool for sensationalism.


  • True Pakistani
    Jan 31, 2014 - 8:01PM

    What are you trying to show by such surveys? Somebody has to take the lead in a household. In Islam both men and women are equal but with different roles. I am proud that our women have respect for themselves for following Allah’s command to take care of the household and assist their husbands.


  • Huma
    Jan 31, 2014 - 8:26PM

    What is an eye opener for me is the difference in scale between men and women. Women have voted in higher numbers than men for the same excuse/reason for beating them. Gives
    an indication of brainwashing of women since childhood to accept domestic abuse.


  • El Cid
    Jan 31, 2014 - 8:54PM

    You got to be kidding me. Men don’t hit women, much less beat them. Women however can be experts at pushing their buttons.

    A man lets that ride if children are involved; gets out of the relationship, divorce such a drama queen pronto, if there are none. Recommend

  • goggi (Lahore)
    Jan 31, 2014 - 9:07PM

    respondents were asked to choose reasons for which it is justified for a husband to hit his wife……………………

    the very suggestive, patronizing and devaluing nature of the questions indicate a biased, unbalanced and a macho enslaving mindset.

    The husband is obliged to treat his wife just as he himself would like to be treated from her and others……….WITH UNCONDITIONAL RESPECT, LOVE AND HUMAN DIGNITY!Recommend

  • daffy
    Jan 31, 2014 - 9:28PM

    well its very disturbing but not surprising to know that women in Pakistan are so narrow minded and mentally sick. In our daily lives , we see that its not usually men who tend to create trouble for women but women who are determined to make other women’s life miserable in any capacity. I have seen so many women being hypocrites where they want the best for themselves or for their own daughters but tend to enforce completely different norms for other women. i wonder why we are like this??Recommend

  • Hina Ebir
    Jan 31, 2014 - 9:43PM

    It’s shocking to read that out of around 13,500 women, 34% approved of the concept of domestic violence so casually. So much for the feminist act. At the same time the results between men and women cannot be compared as too few men participated in the study. All i’m saying is that results of 13,500 should not be compared to a mere 3000.


  • just_someone
    Jan 31, 2014 - 10:44PM

    @Hina Ebir:
    Numbers dont matter once they are high enough. There is something called the Law of Large Numbers and once it applies, increasing numbers doesnt change the results (if the study is built correctly).
    Its usually taught in basic statistics…Recommend

  • Emjay
    Jan 31, 2014 - 11:40PM

    The biggest enemy of a woman is a woman. I wont be surprised if most of these women favoring this result are mothers-in-law who have conveniently forgotten their own time when they were young wives.Recommend

  • A.
    Feb 1, 2014 - 12:45AM

    Bad reporting. The reasons mentioned in this report don’t even qualify for an assessment to begin with.Recommend

  • 3rdRockFromTheSun
    Feb 1, 2014 - 1:26AM

    Was ‘Never’ an option on the survery which the respondents could choose? If not, then it speaks volumes for the attitudes of the surveyors themselves!

    Shame on them !!!


  • Fatima
    Feb 1, 2014 - 1:32AM

    Why isn’t there a “it is not okay to hit your wife option” ?

    The responses are all giving a justification for hitting your wife and respondants are asked to pick one. The survey question is not framed correctly.


  • Imran Ahmed
    Feb 1, 2014 - 7:37PM

    @True Pakistani: Do the words respect and fear of violence mean the same?Recommend

  • Imran Ahmed
    Feb 1, 2014 - 7:40PM

    @goggi (Lahore): I agree, the basic ethic is “do unto others as you would have done unto thee” I hope that those who said it is okay for husbands to hit wives are equally okay with wives beating or getting their husbands beaten for arguing, neglecting in-laws or going out without permission, etceteraRecommend

  • tera baap
    Feb 2, 2014 - 12:11AM

    The tribune should be ashamed to post this and pass it along as “journalism”!


  • pakistani woman
    Feb 2, 2014 - 12:12AM

    another poll conducted reflects 100% of Pakistani women think the tribune is run by TMZ


  • Some Guy
    Feb 2, 2014 - 6:13AM

    Stone-age savages. It is tragic how Pakistan has degenerated since the British went away.


  • Nobody
    Feb 2, 2014 - 2:23PM

    @True Pakistani:
    Yeah and men taking the “lead” has really worked out well for the average Pakistani household. As long as women take the self loathing route and convince themselves their husbands are their leaders, this misogyny will continue. Granting either gender power over the other does not benefit anyone.


  • Nobody
    Feb 2, 2014 - 2:25PM

    @El Cid:
    Yes. All those women who claim to be victims of domestic violence are beating themselves up for the sympathy of others and to vilify angelic men.


  • Moiz
    Feb 2, 2014 - 6:51PM

    If I had to pick a reason, I’d say someone charging me with a knife or assaulting me is a good reason to defend myself. None of the stuff in the survey comes close, and I’d say I’d deserve a solid sock to the face if I was such a feral manlet enough to let that stuff provoke me instead of resolving it with dialogue or something?

    I’m not even some burger bacha yaar. common sense. Are these the type of people who still think hitting children is good because it teaches them discipline/respect/whatever, instead of simply being a telling indicator of a lazy impatient unskilled parent.


  • Smarter Than You
    Feb 3, 2014 - 10:13AM

    @True Pakistani:
    There is no equality if one person is allowed to force his/her will on the other. Equality only occurs when both parties in a relationship/marriage have the SAME rights and restrictions. If the husband can leave the home without the permission then the wife, living in an equal situation, can leave the home without permission. If the husband can say no to sex with no consequence then so to can the wife. If a husband can disagree and refuse to what his wife instructs then an equal wife can do the same and refuse to do what her husband says. If the husband can have 4 wives then the wife can have 4 husbands.

    If there are different rules for each person then what we have is an unequal relationship. To claim otherwise is to be a fool or a liar,


  • True human
    Feb 4, 2014 - 5:15AM

    @True Pakistani:
    idiot. Violence isnt the answer you heathen.


  • True human
    Feb 4, 2014 - 5:19AM

    Its sad how many women are convinced they deserve violence. Inequality and subhuman runs deap. So sad.


  • Gp65
    Feb 16, 2014 - 9:26AM


    As always the voice of reason.

    Well spoken.


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