World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies

Barcelona, July 19th - 24th 2010


Domestic Violence In The Middle East And North Africa: Prevalence, Public Health Impact, And Progress (388) - NOT_DEFINED activity_field_Panel

· NOT_DEFINED date: THU 22, 5.00-7.00 pm

· NOT_DEFINED institution: University of Minnesota Medical School (USA)

· NOT_DEFINED organizer: Cari Jo Clark

· NOT_DEFINED language: English

· NOT_DEFINED description: The panel, “Domestic Violence in the Middle East and North Africa: Prevalence, Public Health Impact and Progress,” at the World Congress for Middle Eastern Studies III will provide a venue for cross-disciplinary information sharing on a major human rights, health and development issue that is gaining ever greater attention in the Middle East. Alongside the greater awareness of the importance of acknowledging and addressing domestic violence is the accumulation of knowledge from studies conducted in the Middle East and North Africa region. While the knowledge base remains small compared to the need, the research that has been conducted has contributed valuable information to advocates, service providers, and policy-makers actively working to prevent violence and to mitigate its deleterious consequences. This panel will examine domestic violence in a number of settings (Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Tunisia, Bangladesh, and Muslim communities in India) providing estimates of its prevalence, discussions of it causes and health consequences, and an exploration of the dynamics of the familial, social, political, and legal contexts in which it occurs and is addressed. Following introductory remarks on domestic violence in the Middle East, the prevalence and correlates of domestic violence in Muslim communities will be examined using data from recent demographic and health surveys to identify similarities and differences within and across countries. The prevalence and correlates of various forms of domestic violence within a broader context of violent conflict will be explored through case studies on Palestine and Lebanon. Individual level responses to intimate partner violence will be examined through research conducted in Egypt. Societal level responses, such as legal reform and its impact on the medical system, will be examined through research conducted in Tunisia. The panel will conclude with remarks to summarize progress made and to set the stage for a discussion of next steps toward understanding and addressing domestic violence in the Middle East and North Africa.

Chair: Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia, Ph.D. (The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem)

Discussant: Marwan Khawaja, Ph.D. (Texas State University)

Paper presenter: Sunita Kishor, Ph.D. (Macro International, Inc.), “Prevalence of Domestic Violence in Muslim Communities: a Comparative Perspective”
The presentation will examine the prevalence and correlates of domestic violence in Muslim nations such as Egypt, Jordan, and Bangladesh and in the Muslim communities in India. Data from recent Demographic and Health Surveys (DHS) will be used to identify similarities and differences within and across countries. Methodological issues pertaining to the collection of sensitive data on violence in large-scale surveys such as the DHS will also be highlighted.

Paper presenter: Cari Jo Clark, Sc.D. and Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia, Ph.D. (University of Minnesota Medical School, The Paul Baerwald School of Social Work and Social Welfare, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem), “Prevalence and Predictors and Severity of Intimate Partner Violence in Palestine”
The presentation will highlight findings from an analysis using the 2005 Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics survey on domestic violence in Palestine. Prevalence estimates and predictors of male to female intimate partner violence will be presented.

Paper presenter: Jinan Usta, M.D. MPH (American University of Beirut, Medical Center) ”Intimate Partner Violence and Child Abuse in Lebanon”
A summary of the research related to domestic violence (gender based and child abuse) conducted in Lebanon will be presented. The magnitude of the problem, its causes and consequences and its relationship to war situation will be highlighted.

Paper presenter: Kathryn Yount, Ph.D (Hubert Department of Global Health and Department of Sociology, Emory University), “Women’s Conformity as Resistance to Intimate Partner Violence in Assiut, Egypt”
Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is widespread. In many settings, the formal avenues to mitigate IPV are limited, but women’s informal responses to such experiences are understudied. This paper explores, in the context of Assiut, Egypt, how women respond to experiences of IPV and how their social relations help to sustain or prevent it. Nineteen in-depth interviews with married women aged 23 – 44 years were coded in maxQDA for women’s responses to experiences of IPV. Frequency distributions and proximity searches elucidated the salience and clustering of these responses, and the corresponding textual data facilitated interpretations. Most often, women blamed the wife for her husband’s aggression and placed responsibility on her to end it by modifying her behavior. Talking to female kin – and especially the mother – as confidantes and advisors was a salient next reaction, but mothers often advised tolerance, “secret keeping,” and self-directed forms of recourse. When these strategies were ineffective or the treatment became intolerable, a woman might seek intervention from her natal male kin. Turning to the police or courts were not viable options because such actions would be “shameful” and would assure an irreconcilable divorce. In Assiut, wife-blaming and social pressures to endure IPV were pervasive among women and their families. Yet, women’s responses to IPV revealed a pattern of strategic conformity, in which women invoked femininity as moral persuasion and called on men’s duty of protection as viable forms of resistance.

Paper presenter: Angel Foster, D.Phil., M.D. (Ibis Reproductive Health), “IPV in Tunisia: Legal Issues, Public Health Impact, and NGO Responses”
Over the last fifteen years, Tunisia has undertaken a number of significant legal reforms related to intimate partner violence. This paper explores the impact of these reforms on the medical system and highlights continued challenges in the application of existing laws. This paper will highlight the activities of local NGOs and conclude with discussion about the need for additional to support survivors of IPV through both formal and informal networks. Finally, this paper will examine the issue of dating violence and efforts that have been undertaken to address this emerging public health issue.