Wife abuse and battering in the sociocultural context of Arab society

Fam Process. 2000 Summer;39(2):237-55. doi: 10.1111/j.1545-5300.2000.39207.x.


Despite increasing public, professional, and scientific interest in the problem of wife abuse and battering, little has been written about the importance of sociocultural sensitivity in intervention with abused and battered women in Arab society. In this article, I describe central family values in that society and discuss their relevance to wife abuse and battering. Specifically, the discussion focuses on values such as mutual family support and interdependence, family reputation, women's inferiority and male supremacy, and family cohesion and the relevance of those values to wife abuse and battering. In addition, I present Arab women's perspectives on this problem, as revealed in their responses to open-ended questions that were part of larger studies conducted by me. In this regard, five dimensions of their perspectives are considered: (1) Women's definitions of violence against women; (2) their awareness of the problem; (3) their justification or condemnation of violence against women; (4) their awareness of the risk encountered by battered women; and (5) their approach toward coping with the problem. The results are discussed from the perspective of the sociocultural context of Arab society. The article concludes with recommendations for socioculturally sensitive intervention with battered women in this society.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Arabs / statistics & numerical data*
  • Battered Women / statistics & numerical data*
  • Cultural Characteristics*
  • Data Collection
  • Family Relations
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Incidence
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Middle East / epidemiology
  • Risk Assessment
  • Spouse Abuse / statistics & numerical data*