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One in Four Condone Spousal Violence, Though Attitudes Vary across Countries and Individuals in the Americas

One in Four Condone Spousal Violence, Though Attitudes Vary across Countries and Individuals in the Americas

The pervasiveness of partner violence (Bott et al. 2013, WHO 2014) in the Americas is arguably buttressed by norms that tolerate such abuse. This report illuminates the magnitude of tolerance of domestic violence against women by assessing tendencies to condone (either approve or understand) spousal violence when a wife neglects to take care of household chores. The extent to which the public expresses either explicit (approve) ortacit (understand) approval of domestic violence varies significantly across the region. While the percentage who report tolerance of domestic violence when a woman neglects the household chores is 25% for the set of countries examined here, rates within countries range from a high of over 50% in Guatemala to a low of under 10% in Paraguay.

In terms of individual predictors, tolerance varies across women (versus men), older generations (versus middle age and younger generations), and urban (versus rural) places of residence. Those who are more educated and wealthier are less likely to express tolerance for spousal violence. Economic vulnerability matters: those in households experiencing more financial problems are more tolerant of spousal violence against wives. Finally, those who intend to migrate are more tolerant of domestic violence, suggesting that the links between economic, social, and other forms of hardship and dislocation may be quite robust and should be further examined to best understand this issue in the Americas.

Policies and programs that increase education, economic opportunities, and social stability are key to shifting norms with respect to tolerance for domestic violence. These broader efforts might be pursued alongside more targeted programs that seek to empower women while encouraging men to curb their comparatively higher degree of tolerance for domestic violence against women.  

Country:United States of America
Institution:Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP)
Author:Lauren Pak

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