02 May 2013

Physical violence survivors are mostly women aged 40-49 with children, without higher education and living in low-income families. This is the conclusion drawn by the researchers of the Centre of Sociological and Political Studies of the Belarusian State University based on the findings of the survey of 700 men and women conducted in Brest Oblast.

Who are the victims of domestic violence?

Traditionally women are more vulnerable to domestic violence than men. Women were subjected to beatings and battery 2.6 times more frequently than men; were coerced into sexual activity 2.4 times more often; they were 1.8 times more often shoved, pinched, dragged by hair and forbidden to work or learn.

Four out of five interviewed women at least once experienced psychological violence, every third woman experienced physical or economic violence, and every sixth experienced sexual violence. Most women (over 80%) at least once subjected to any type of violence have children. Almost all divorced women (96%) experienced psychological violence during the dissolved marriage.

Least subjected to violence are women aged 18-29, most subjected are women aged 40-49. Women without higher education are more frequently subjected to physical and psychological violence. Besides, women living in rural areas are more subjected to violence.

Low-income women much more often than middle-income or well-off women experience all types of violence. Every fourth lower-income woman was subjected to beatings and battery, every second heard threats, and every third was coerced into sexual activity by a permanent partner. As compared to the well-off group, low-income women were 6 times more often refused money for buying necessities.

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Men also experience domestic violence. Every fifth man claimed that he had experienced physical violence, every fourth – economic, and one in 13 men - sexual violence. Over two thirds of men experienced psychological violence.

Lower-income men are more vulnerable to domestic violence than better-off men. For example, three times more often they were subjected to beatings (9% versus 3%), one and a half times more often heard threats and intimidation (32% versus 22%), almost twice as often were refused money for buying necessities (18% versus 10%), and almost one third time more often heard obscene jokes (48% versus 37%).

The men who had been subjected to violence mentioned mostly money problems and jealousy as a cause of violence.

Who are the aggressors?

Sixteen per cent of men and 20% of women admitted using physical violence against their spouses. Twelve per cent of men and 3% of women used sexual violence.

Psychological violence is more often used by men and women aged 18-29 (78% and 82% respectively), physical violence is more typical of men aged 50-60 (19%) and women aged 40-49 (26%). Economic abuse is more typical of the representatives of both sexes aged 40-49 (26% men and 21% women). Men aged 40-49 (15%) and women aged 18-29 (but only 4%) more often coerce their partners into sexual activity.

Men with secondary or post-primary education admit using various types of violence. As regards women, no significant variations in psychological, economic or sexual violence are observed in terms of education. Physical violence is less typical of women with higher education.

Lower-income men more often than others use psychological, physical and sexual violence against their partner. And the other way round, well-off women are more aggressive. Least aggressive are men and women from middle-income families. With family income increasing men are less likely to use psychological violence and women are less likely to use economic violence.

FOR REFERENCE. The survey to assess domestic violence situation in Brest Oblast was conducted in October-December 2012 by the Centre of Sociological and Political Studies of the Belarusian State University as part of the international technical assistance project “Developing national capacity to counteract domestic violence in Belarus in the context of increased gender equality executed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection of the Republic of Belarus along with partners. This is the first comprehensive large-scale study of domestic violence in Brest Oblast. The sociologists interviewed 337 men and 363 women aged 18-60 with an experience of an officially registered or a common-law marriage.