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October 19, 2002

Palestinian poll: A husband may beat his wife if she hurts his manhood

Three cheers for democracy and equality!
A poll conducted in the Palestinian Authority by a Palestinian public opinion company shows that a majority of Palestinians are of the opinion that a husband may prevent his wife from working, that a woman should strive to devote herself to her husband and that a husband is entitled to beat his wife if he thinks that she "hurt his manhood". Nearly half the Palestinians believe that neither law enforcement nor social welfare agencies' intervention in husbands' violence towards the wife is warranted, while at the same time a the majority calls for tough punitive legislation for violence towards women. These two attitudes are, it seems, not viewed as contradictory. One possible explanation is that the support for punitive measures expressed by a majority of Palestinians does not apply to a husband's violence towards his wife.

The text:
“The Society for the Advancement of the Palestinian Working Woman, in conjunction with The Palestinian Center for Public Opinion Polls, conducted a poll under the supervision of Dr. Nabil Kokali, on the topic of violence against women..."
“56.9% of Palestinians feel that it is a husband’s right to hit his wife if he thinks she hurt his manhood...”
“59.1% of Palestinians feel that it is a husband’s right to prevent his wife from working outside the home..."
“66.4% of Palestinians declare that the crown of success of the Palestinian Woman is devoting herself to the care of her children and her husband above devotion to herself…"
“47.1% feel that there is no need for intervention of social or law enforcement agencies in instances of husbands attacking wives, because that is a family problem..."
“73.9% feel that a woman must think of how to become a mother and wife rather than engage in her economic and social freedom..."
"86% of Palestinians feel that the [Islamic] traditions and customs retard advancement of women..."
“68.5% of Palestinians feel that the [Palestinian] Authority should legislate firm punitive legislation for violence against women...."
[Al-Ayyam women’s supplement ‘The Woman’s Voice’, October 3, 2002]