Society for Social Work and Research

Sixteenth Annual Conference Research That Makes A Difference: Advancing Practice and Shaping Public Policy
11-15 January 2012 I Grand Hyatt Washington I Washington, DC

16343 Indonesians Perceptions and Attitudes Toward Violence Against Wives

Thursday, January 12, 2012: 3:30 PM
Constitution D (Grand Hyatt Washington)
* noted as presenting author
Binahayati Rusyidi, PhD, Faculty, University of Padjadjaran, Sumedang, West Java, Indonesia
BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Violence against wives (VAW) is the most common type of violence against women that exists in any country or society regardless its social, political, and economic nature (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, & Lozan, 2002). VAW results in negative consequences for victims, families, and society (Burton, Duvvury, & Varia, 2006). Understanding perceptions and attitudes is a crucial step to prevent and address the problem (Carlson &Worden, 2005; Pease & Flood, 2009). The failure to recognize behavior as violence can delay victims to seek help. Studies also found acceptance of the use of violence correlates with actual perpetration of IPV or inhibits society to provide effective responses to help victims and prevent the events. Although attitudinal studies have been conducted in many countries, very little studies focused on Indonesian context. This study is considered among the first that was aimed at exploring Indonesians' perceptions and attitudes about definitions, perceived causes, contextual justifications, and responses to violence against wives and investigating the impacts of socio-demographic and socio-cultural factors on such perceptions and attitudes.

METHODS: The sampling frame of the study was all households listed in 148 census blocks of the 2009 National Social Economic Survey located in two counties of West Java Province. Using simple random method, at all stages, first, the author selected 10 rural and urban blocks, then 200 households and finally 200 individuals as the participants. Data were collected using face-to-face interviews with open-ended and closed-ended questions. A total of 181 male and female adults completed the survey. Content analysis was applied to analyze qualitative data and hierarchical multiple regression was utilized to analyze the associations.

RESULTS: Indonesians in this study tended to define violence against wives in physical terms. They inclined to justify a husband hitting his wife when she was perceived to deviate from traditional gender roles as a wife or mother. The findings indicated prevalent victim-blaming attitudes. The participants also tended to express ambivalent attitudes between protecting the victims and punishing the abusive husbands. In addition, the majority of participants reported preference for informal mechanisms in dealing with violence against wives. Having egalitarian attitudes about gender roles, living in urban area, and being single were among the most common variables significantly associated with the broader definitions of violence against wives, greater disapproval of contextual justification for violence against wives, and greater support for active-resistant responses to violence against wives.

CONCLUSION AND IMPLICATIONS: Some factors associated with attitudes toward violence against wives found in this study were similar with previous studies conducted in different countries or societies. However, this study also highlighted some findings that was culturally unique for Indonesian socio-cultural context and found the impacts of some predictors that were not much explored in earlier research. The findings suggested the importance of both specific and general targeted programs through social welfare policies, public education and community-based outreach to improve Indonesians' perceptions and attitudes about wife abuse. In addition, the study suggests longitudinal study as important to track the attitudinal changes

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