Representative image of domestic violence
Representative image | Victoria H. Taylor
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Data from the National Family Health Survey reveals that the number of men who say physical abuse is justified has fallen faster over the past 10 years. 

New Delhi: While fewer Indian men say it’s justified to physically assault their wives, the number of women who think it’s a valid form of ‘punishment’ is now higher than men.

Data from the National Family Health Survey-4 (2015-2016) released on 12 January said that while 52 per cent of women surveyed believe it is reasonable for a husband to beat his wife, only 42 per cent of men agree with it.

The data reveals that attitudes among both genders hasn’t changed by too much since the last such survey in 2005-06, except that the number of men who think that domestic abuse is okay is now lower than women.

As part of the survey women and men in the 15-49 age group were asked if physical abuse of a wife by her husband is justified. They were also given seven categories and if a respondent answered yes to any one of these categories, the survey registered them as having attitudes that validated wife-beating.

Source: NFHS 4 Report

The survey found for women acceptability of abuse increased with age, while it decreased for men. Women in the 40-49 age group and men in the 15-19 age group were found to be more inclined to justify physical abuse. The survey also found that acceptance of physical abuse was higher in rural areas, and decreased with education and wealth.

The attitude towards wife-beating varies across India, with the highest agreement among women recorded both in Telangana and Manipur (84 per cent) and the lowest in Sikkim (17 per cent).

Among men, the highest acceptance for this form of domestic abuse was in Telangana. The survey found 75 per cent men in the state thought it was justified to beat their spouses. The lowest acceptance for domestic abuse was recorded in Sikkim, with just 6 per cent men accepting it.

The survey also says that of the respondents, Christian men and women justified physical abuse the most among religious groups. Of members from the community, 56.9 per cent of Christian women and 51.6 per cent of men said any of the circumstances listed justified physical abuse.  Men and women belonging to the Jain religion—19 per cent and 29 per cent respectively—showed the least acceptance for abuse.

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