Justification, Perception of Severity and Harm, and Criminalization of Wife Abuse in the Palestinian Society

Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia, Rula M. Wilson, Syed Agha M. Naqvi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to examine the perceptions of Palestinian adults toward different dimensions of wife abuse. A cross-sectional survey, using a combination of self-administered questionnaires and interviews, was conducted among a systematic random sample of 624 adult Palestinian men and women from the West Bank and Gaza Strip (18 years or older). Study results indicated a strong tendency to justify wife beating in different situations, such as when the wife is perceived as having an affair with another man or as physically attacking her husband. Participants considered the following acts of husband's violence against wife as most severe: using a weapon (86%), having sex with the wife against her will (67%), and hitting her with his fist (57%). The majority of participants thought that wife beating should be considered a crime (82.3%). Traditional marital role expectations was the main significant predictor for all of the study criterion variables. Gender, place of residence, age, and marital status were significant predictors of some of the criterion variables.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1932-1958
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number10
StatePublished - Jul 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors received the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: The study was partially funded by the Ford Foundation, Cairo Branch, and conducted through the Bisan Center for Research and Development, Ramallah, Palestinian Authority.


  • criminalization of wife abuse
  • domestic violence
  • intimate partner violence
  • perceptions of wife abuse
  • wife abuse in Palestinian society


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