When Women Think They Deserve It
When we talk about safety, violence, we assume that we all share the same definition and that we all agree and what is "right" and "wrong". Yet, it might be that what we think is "abnormal" for other is "normal". Acknowledging this variation in perspectives is key for challenges like this one which involve deep socio-cultural assumptions.
As I was interviewing a friend of mine for this challenge (Interview to be posted soon), she mentioned an article she read about a recent demographic and health survey by the
National Institute of Population Studies in Pakistan.
The survey shows that 34% of Pakistanese women accept the fact that they are punished by their husbands if they did not behave "properly".
The survey included 13 558 women and 3 134 men, between 15 and 49 and was about various topics such as child mortality and HIV. Some questions were about domestic violences. Six justifications were suggested: if the woman burnt the dinner, or if she resisted her husband, if she leaves the house without telling her husband, if she neglects her children, if she does not want to have sex, or if she neglected her in laws.
28 % of women that they deserved being beaten if they neglected their in laws, 18% if they burnt the dinner. The majority of men considered that the most valid reason would be for their wifes to leave the house without telling them.
What this survey shows is that if we all know about Malala YousafzaÏ, she is an exception in a society where still a lot of people think that beating your wife, or being beaten might be justified.
This is important to remember this when we start ideating:
what we think is not "moral", not "right", not "normal", might not seem to amoral, abnormal or wrong to the people in the community we are designing for.
The fact that both the women and the men thought that there were cases that justify violence reminds us that the issue is a societal one and that we will need to address both women and men.
Awareness and education are crucial to make any solutions we imagine successful.
More on this (but in French):