Seeking A Way Out of the Cage : Underprivileged Women and Domestic Violence in Bangladesh

Show full item record



Permalink

http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7672-5
Title: Seeking A Way Out of the Cage : Underprivileged Women and Domestic Violence in Bangladesh
Author: Ashrafun, Laila
Contributor: University of Helsinki, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Studies, Sociology
Publisher: Helsingin yliopisto
Date: 2013-03-15
Language: en
Belongs to series: URN:ISSN:1798-9132
URI: http://urn.fi/URN:ISBN:978-952-10-7672-5
http://hdl.handle.net/10138/38268
Thesis level: Doctoral dissertation (monograph)
Abstract: This study is about domestic violence against women in Bangladeshi society. It delineates, in particular, why and how some women become the victims of domestic violence in the changing socio-economic setting of Bangladesh. I was inspired to carry out this study by the highlights and banner news from the daily newspapers, and writings of the scholars about the widespread events of domestic violence against women in Bangladesh. In the light of the news and studies I saw a need to sketch out an in-depth representation of domestic violence against economically and educationally underprivileged women in Bangladeshi society. The fieldwork of this study was carried out in two slums, and in a non-governmental counseling center in Sylhet, Bangladesh. I have relied on qualitative data and methods which I consider as the main strength of this study because it helps me to uncover the situation of the underprivileged young women in a meaningful context. In this study, I have tried to uncover the meaning, causes, coping strategies, resistance as well as effect of domestic violence in the lives of underprivileged women in Bangladeshi society. I have questioned women s agency and the struggle to problematize the position of women in gender relations, social, cultural, religious, and the legal arena. I have shown how women in the underprivileged class are vulnerable because of the prevailing family and social structure and are exposed to domestic violence. Focusing on domestic violence, I also examined why and how women tolerated and tried to solve informally domestic violence perpetrated against them by their husbands and other in-laws for a long time and why some women break the barriers and come to formal legal institutions to seek help. It is obvious from the study that underprivileged women s vulnerability is related to household insecurity which incarcerates the difficulties, experiences, and incidents of women s lives that expose them to violence. This study has sketched out how social-cultural and religious constraints include norms related to early marriage, the practice of purdah, dowry practices, unequal treatment between sons and daughters in the natal family, not having one s own permanent shelter, not getting property from one s father or not having property rights, a father s lack of land, obstacles to women working outside home, a preference for sons, social stigma related with marital separation or divorce. The analysis of the underprivileged women s life helped me to understand all these constraints as a whole mute the voice and limit the agency of young women both within their natal and marital homes. This makes striving for changes more difficult for women from a domestic violence free life, and capabilities for life improving decisions and steps. Domestic violence has moved from the privacy of the home into the light of the political and social arenas in Bangladesh. The issue has shifted focus from a particular man or woman relationship to the societal institutions or dominant ideology such as gender inequality, the varying constraints under which women and men live, the material, social, and the legal options that they access or mobilize. There is no doubt that poor victim women are slowly but steadily raising their muted voice and protesting against domestic violence but it has also become especially clear that, in order to compete for equal footing and establishment of rights, women need to acquire appropriate skills, improve their life situations and develop enough self-confidence. Still there are numerous problems with the legal systems in Bangladesh concerning women s issues in general and domestic violence in particular. The criminal laws and family laws, taken together, are insufficient and weak to solve women s problems when taking into account women s position and the prevalent structural barriers. I realized that the weakness of laws allow violent husbands and in-laws to find a way to escape compliance with them. In my opinion, the law alone is not capable of bringing social change and has less power to change peoples behaviors in gender relations and social practices for establishing human rights. Generally, in the societies people fear the law, legal procedures and punishment but only through fear it will not be possible to uproot violence, immorality and injustice against women. If domestic violence against women is to be stopped, strong law enforcement and state intervention are required. People should be informed and educated about the laws in informal way and cultured to practice the establishment of human rights to ensure meaningful everyday lives for all citizens.NA
Subject: sociology
Rights: This publication is copyrighted. You may download, display and print it for Your own personal use. Commercial use is prohibited.


Files in this item

Files Size Format View

There are no files associated with this item.

This item appears in the following Collection(s)

Show full item record