Binahayati Rusyidi, Ph.D.


Violence against one is one of the most common form of Intimate partner violence against women (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, & Lozan, 2002) that is increasingly viewed as a global social problem and human rights violation (Burton, Duvvury, & Varia, 2000; Bond & Philips, 2001), including in Indonesia. Existing data indicated that violence against women is a growing problem in Indonesia. In 2008, there were 54,425 reported cases of domestic violence, dating violence, rape by strangers, and violence by government personnel against women. Reported incidents increased significantly to 143, 586 cases by the end of 2009. Approximately 96% of cases in 2009 were reported as violence against wives by husbands (Indonesian National Commission on Violence Against Women, 2010). The first National Survey on Violence Against Women and Children (SVAWC) conducted in 2006 by the Ministry of Women Empowerment and Indonesian Bureau of Statistics with female adults from 68,000 households in all 33 provinces also suggested that violence against wife in various forms as the most frequent cases (Indonesian Bureau of Statistic and the Ministry of Women Empowerment, 2006

Studies found that Intimate Partner Violence against Wives associated many negative consequences for victims, families, and society. Depending on the frequency, duration, and severity of violence as well as coping skills and level of support available to the victims, violence can impact the functioning and well being of the victims. These include injuries even death  (Krug et al., 2002), long-term medical problems such as cardiac symptoms, sexually-transmitted disease and gynecological problems that continue even after the abuse has ended (Campbell, 2002; Krug et al., 2002), and  psychological and emotional health problems that need medical attention including depression, suicidality, anxiety, substance abuse or post-traumatic stress disorder ( Campbell, 2002, Haj-Yahia, 2000; Philips, Rosen, Zoellner, & Feeny, 2006; Sidibe, 2006). Children and adolescents living with IPV are at an increased risk of experiencing all types of abuse, developing  emotional and behavioral problems, experiencing  other adversities  (Holt, Buckley, and Whelan, 2008), or be coming IPV perpetrators in their adult life (Jewkes, Levin & Penn-Kenaka, 2002;  Holt et al., 2008). Intimate Partner Against Women also depletes resources to pay direct costs of service provisions for the victims and perpetrators (medical, criminal justice system, social services) and indirect costs including due to possible increase of mental health problems.  In addition, the impacts of IPV can lead to larger economic consequences resulting from loss of productivity and social impacts of the problem such as intergenerational transmission of violence and reduced quality of life (Burton et al., 2000; Krug et al.,2002; World Health Organization, 2004).

Criminal justice, policy making, health and social service system play crucial roles in implementing the purpose of The Law on the Elimination of Domestic Violence Law of 2004, particularly to protect and help the victims, bring the perpetrator into justice, and raise the participation of society to prevent and address the problem. Therefore, it is important to understand how students studying at criminal justice, policy making, health, and social service fields perceive violence against wives and what demographic and socio-cultural factors associated with their attitudes. Attitudes of service providers toward violence against wives can affect whether they react to the victims or perpetrator in favorable ways. Insensitive criminal justice or social services personnel could prevent the disclosure of the events (Felson, Messner,Hoskin, & Deane, 2002; Kingsnorth & MacIntosh, 2004), thus, putting  victims at greater risk and in more harmful physical and emotional situations. Lack of understanding about IPV, tolerance toward IPV, victim blaming, and lenient attitudes toward perpetrators can prevent significant others and the community in preventing the problem and  providing helpful and effective responses to help the victims and to hold the perpetrators accountable ( Pavlou & Knowles, 2001; West & Wandrei, 2002; Worden & Carlson, 2005 ).

While studies exploring the college student attitudes had been done in some countries (West and Wandrei 2002; White and Kurpius 2002, Sakalh 2001, Nayak et al. 2003) to the extent of authors’ knowledge, this study was the first done in Indonesia and more importantly among the pioneer of international research covering students from four different fields. It is expected that this study can fill the gap of knowledge on Indonesians attitudes toward violence against wives. In addition, the authors expect that the findings found in this study can inform the future studies as well as the curriculum setting in higher education system.



Conceptualizing attitudes

Attitudes have been defined in various ways and none of those definitions has been universally accepted (Albaracin , Johnson, & Zana et al., 2005). However, most definitions focus on the process of evaluating an object on a scale ranging from positive to negative.  Eagly and Chaiken (1993, cited in Albarracin et al., 2005), for example, define an attitude as “a psychological tendency that is expressed by evaluating a particular entity with some degree of favour of disfavor” or as affect for or against an object e.g an individual, group, institution, belief (Schuman, 1995). Attitudes are assumed to be an underlying disposition that is reflected in specific behaviors, which may direct or indirect, verbal or nonverbal (Albaracin et al, 2005).

The review of literatures revealed that  the majority of studies concerning public attitudes toward violence against women focused on attitudes toward target (attitudes towards violence against women) and a very small number examined attitudes toward behavior (i.e. intention to perpetrate, intention to report to the police). The studies also varied with regard to their conceptualization about attitudes toward violence against women. The majority of existing studies explored a single aspect of attitudes toward violence against women, with the majority focused on justification of wife abuse (Gentemann; 1984; Berkel, Vandiver, & Bahner, 2004; Fikree, Razzak, & Durocher, 2005; Harr, 2007). This present study examines attitudes toward violence against wives along three dimensions: definition of violence against wives, contextual justification of violence against wives, and responses to deal with violence against wives.

Interdisciplinary Feminist Perspectives: Socio-Cultural Factors

A feminist perspective is the most prominent socio-cultural perspective to explain violence against women in general (Heise, 1998; Amirthalingam, 2003). Critical or radical feminists have argued that intimate partner violence constitutes one of the main social manifestations of patriarchy or gender inequality. Patriarchy has been conceptualized on two levels: macro and micro. On the macro level, it is structural which manifests as male domination in the access and positions within social institutions: economic, social and political structures (Schecter, 1982; Yick, 1999). At the micro level, patriarchy is represented in the individual beliefs, norms, and values that legitimize male dominance over women ( Dobash & Dobash, 1979; Smith, 1990). According to Smith (1990), theorists also distinguish patriarchy as social and familial patriarchy. The term social patriarchy refers to dominance of male in the whole society whereas familial patriarchy refers to male dominance within the family.

In societies where men are dominant, patriarchal relationships are widely supported by stereotypical or traditional gender-role attitudes or expectations about the appropriate social roles for men and more especially for women.  The traditional notion of gender-role attitudes are socialized and enforced by informal and formal institutions or agents including parents, culture, education, religion, and marriage that socialize men as aggressive and powerful class whereas women are usually viewed as the subordinate.  The ideology of patriarchy in familial relations prominently emphasizes on the themes of a wife’s obedience, sexual fidelity, submission, respect, loyalty, sexual access, and selflessness. In contrast, men are socialized and expected to be dominant, be the breadwinner, govern the family, and have the right to use physical force against their intimate female partner (Smith, 1990; Yllo & Straus, 1990; Pagelow, 1992; Abraham 1999; Ayyub, 2000; Yick, 2000; Haj-Yahia, 2002; Munir, 2005).

Therefore,  according to feminist perspectives, society that sanctions violence against wife as husband privilege to correct wife’s transgression gender role tend to tolerate wife abuse when the wife has failed in her role or overstep her limits. In other words, violence is commonly seen as women’s faults, not men. At individual level, it can be assumed that individuals who adhere to patriarchal beliefs about male domination or female subordination would tend to condone intimate partner violence against women and indicated lenient attitudes toward the perpetrators.

The examination of gender and attitudes toward gender role and their impacts on the attitudes about violence against women has been used by many researchers to test the assumptions of feminist assumptions. It has been widely assumed that women tend to express stronger attitudes against violence against women than their men’s counterparts. They tend to disapprove violence against women as expression of solidarity to the victims who share same gender attribute as themselves (Greenblat, 1986).  In contrast, male tend to have more lenient attitudes toward violence and perpetrators because they are reluctant to give up their superior position (Finn, 1988).

Gender role attitudes and religious orientation have been used as other indicators to predict patriarchal beliefs that associated with attitudes toward violence against women. Gender role beliefs refer to the orientation with regards to proper roles of male and female in public and private lives (Finn, 1988; Greenblat, 1986). Compared to men, women tend to have liberal attitude toward gender role and are more willing to change traditional gender roles because they are disadvantaged more from gender inequality (Finn, 1988).  Meanwhile, religion has been criticized by some feminist proponents as one of the important agents that supports patriarchy and condones violence within marriage (Dobash & Dobash, 1983; Fortune, 2001). Some other maintains that the interpretations of religious teachings, not religion themselves that enforce patriarchy and women subordination (Fortune, 2001). Religious teachings might increase forgiveness for abuse due to doctrines on the submissive nature of wives and unconditional nature of forgiveness (Tsang & Standford, 2007) and increase risks for abused women due to emphasis on the sacredness of marriage (Fortune, 2001).

Sociological Perspectives: Socio-Demographic Factors

A sociological theory advocated by Straus, Gelles, & Steinmetz (1980) argued  that social and ecological factors including  age, income, education, employment, residence and other socio-demographic variables are related to domestic violence. Age affects individuals’ ability to learn new ideas or values. Older individuals may tend to have difficulty to  absorb more liberal  perspectives about family, gender roles and marriage lives because they had internalized their existing beliefs for a long period of times, thus making it difficult for them to accept new ideas that are not consistent with their belief system (Roberts & Strarr, 1989; Carlson & Worden, 2005). Geographical area (i.e. urban- rural, small-big cities) may have impact on individuals’ perception and attitudes. For example, living in rural/small towns may limit people interactions with non-conservative family values or liberal norms and values pertaining to women’s rights and gender equality either due to relatively low education, rigid social structures and norms about family and gender roles, conservative norms about family privacy, and or lack of availability/ access to information and access regarding IPV (Koenig, Ahmed, Hossain, Mozumder, 2003; Eastman, Bunch, Williams, & Carawan, 2007). As a result, rural/small town residents tend to have limited understanding about violence against women and express less favorable attitude toward the issue.



            Participants in this study were undergraduate students from three (3) public universities in Medan, Bandung, and Sumedang,  Indonesia .  All of participants were studying law, political science, nursing, and social welfare when the study was carried out. The students recruited in this study were in the second, fourth, sixth, and eighth semesters.  However, as the majority of eight semester students usually start working on their minor thesis, many of them were rarely found in the campuses, thus, had little chance to participate in the study.





            The Definitions of Violence Against Wives Scale

The Definitions of Violence Against Wives Scale (DVAWS) was utilized to measure participants definitions of violence against wives. Perceptions about definitions of violence against wives referred to participants’ perceptions whether to categorize certain physical, psychological, economic and sexual violence or social control targeted at the wife by the husband as violence against wives.  The scale consisted of 13 items with five-point Likert scale  responses where 1 was “strongly agree”, 3 was “neutral”, and 5 was “strongly disagree”. For data analysis, the score was reversed so that that a lower score indicates more disagreement. Scores were summated in which  higher scores signaling more agreement that a given behavior is classified to be violence against wives, whereas lower scores indicate less agreement that  the presented behaviors is violence against wives (Rusyidi, 2011. The Cronbach’s alpha of the scale in this study was 0.84; indicating a good internal consistency.

The Contextual Justification of Violence Against Wives Scale

The Contextual Justification of Violence Against Wives Scale (CJVAWS) was employed to measure individuals’ attitudes about circumstances that might justify or warrant the use of physical violence by a husband against his wife. The scale include of 13 closed-ended items. A scenario describing a man hitting his wife “really hard” under 13 different circumstances was presented to respondents. All items were measured using a  five-point Likert scale where 1 was “strongly agree”, 3 was “neutral”, and 5 was “strongly disagree”. Scores were summated across items with the highest possible score as 65 and 13 as the lowest possible score is. The higher the score means the more disagreement that a husband is justified in hitting the wife (Rusyidi, 2011). The Cronbach’s alpha of the scale in this study was .89; reflecting a very good internal consistency.

               Appropriate Responses to Deal with Violence Against Wives Scale (ARVAWS)

The Appropriate Responses to Deal with Violence Against Wives Scale (ARDVAWS) measures the participant’s attitudes about dealing with violence against wives. This attitude referred to individuals’ approval or disapproval of certain formal and non-formal active-resistant responses should be taken by the victims and society in dealing with violence against wives. The scale consisted of 9 close-ended items. All items were measured using a  seven-point Likert scale where 1 was “strongly agree”, 4 was “neutral”, and 7 was “strongly disagree”. Scores were summated with 63 as highest possible score and 9 as lowest possible score. In data analysis, the scoring of 5 items were reversed so that a higher scores means more support for active-resistant approaches to deal with violence against wives and a lower score indicates lower support for active-resistant responses to violence against wives (Rusyidi, 2011). The Cronbach’s alpha of the scale in this study was .70.

            Attitudes Toward Women Scale-short version (ATWS)

The ATWS short-version measures attitudes concerning the rights, roles, and obligations that woman should have in modern society.  The Scale consists of 15 items that are measured using a –four point Likert scale where 0=” strongly disagree”, 1=” mildly disagree”, 2=”mildly agree”, and 3=”strongly agree”. The ATWS provides scores along a continuum range from endorsement of traditional sex roles to an egalitarian view of the roles of women and men (Spence & Helmreich, 1978). The ATWS is scored so that a high score reflects more feminist, egalitarian attitudes and a low score reflects more conservative, traditional gender attitudes (Helmreich, Spence, & Gibson, 1982). In this study, the anchor points on the 4-point Liket scale were modified to be comparable to other Likert scales utilized in this research so that  “disagree strongly”=1, “disagree mildly”=2, “agree mildly”=3, and “strongly agree”=4. In data analysis, the scoring of 4 items were reversed so that “disagree strongly”=4, “disagree mildly”=3, “agree mildly”=2, and “agree strongly”=1. The ATWS short-version has been validated in cross culture studies (i.e. the United States, Hong Kong, Chinese-American, and Arabic) and with various types of samples (women, undergraduate students, or general population). The internal reliability was pretty good, ranging from 0.85 (Daughtery & Dambrot, 1986), 0.80 (Lee & Cheung, 1991), and 0.70 (Yick, 1997).The Cronbach’s alpha for the Scale in this study was 0.73.

Religiosity Scale

The scale consists of three items to measure religiosity of the participants (e.g. in general, to what extent do you consider yourself religious?).  Responses to the items are based on a 6-point Likert-type scale in which 1= very much and 6=never/not at all .In original scoring system a low score means a high level of religiosity and a high score means low level of religiosity.  However, in this study, the scoring was reversed so that high score equals to high level of religiosity whereas low score equals to low level of religiosity. This change was made in order to make it consistent with scoring system for other instruments used in this study. Haj-Yahia’ Religiosity Scale has been used in studies with sample from Middle Eastern (Haj-Yahia, 1998; 2002) and Indonesia (Rusyidi, 2011). The Cronbach’s alpha for Religiosity Scale was .82

Data Collection and Procedures

Data collection was held between February and April 2012. Self-administered survey using structured questionnaire was used to collect data from the students.  Students were approached in their classes after the researchers obtained permission from the class lecturers. Students were offered to participate and interested students were consented.  The Informed Consent explained the intent of the study underscoring the fact that respondent’s   participation in the study was voluntary and that the confidentiality of the participation was protected by the researchers. The students completed the questionnaires in their classes individually. In most cases, none of data collectors were teaching the participants in order to minimize potential pressure to the students.

Data Analysis

            Data in this study was analyzed using SPSS. A series of descriptive statistical analyses were performed to describe the variables of the study. Multiple regressions were performed to find out which factors associated with students’ attitudes. Multiple regressions will enable the examination of the degree of effect a predictor variable has on a dependent variable when other predictor variables are held constant (Field, 2005; Tabachnick & Fidell, 2007). For example, a simple comparison of some outcomes (i.e. the justification of wife abuse) for males and females might be deceiving, if these two groups are different in some ways besides gender. In other words, if there are potential pre-existing differences between female and male (i.e. males are more likely to have non-egalitarian attitudes toward gender), then the correlation, based on gender differences would be inappropriate or inaccurate.



Demographic Characteristics of the Sample

Table 1 below describes the socio-demographic characteristics of the sample. The majority of students participated in this study was female (around 52%). The subjects predominantly Moslem (94.5%) and reported they were Sundanese (39.9%) or Javanese (23.9%).  The proportion of students based on area where they spent most of their life time was quite balance, 42% in small cities and around 52% in big cities. Over a-third of respondents were studying either at social welfare or law department. Almost half of them were in 6th semester during data collection.

Table.1. Frequency distribution of participants’ socio-demographic characteristics (N=318)

                                                                                                N              %
GenderMale                                                                            129            40.6Female                                                                        165            51.9

Missing                                                                         24              7.5

Place of origin/grown upSmall cities                                                                  134            42.1Big cities                                                                      164            51.6

Missing                                                                          20              6.3

Field of studyLaw                                                                               99             31.0Political sciences                                                           32            10.0

Nursing                                                                          70            22.0

Social welfare                                                              118            37.0

Length of study (Semester)Two                                                                                 82           25.8Four                                                                                 58           18.2

Six                                                                                 148           46.5

Eight & Ten                                                                      7             2.2

Missing                                                                            23            7.2

EthnicitySundanese                                                                      127          39.9Javanese                                                                           76          23.9

Batak                                                                                32          10.1

Malay                                                                               24            7.5

Minang                                                                             19            6.0

Others                                                                               21            6.4

Missing                                                                             20            6.3

ReligionIslam                                                                               258          81.1Protestant                                                                          29            9.1

Catholic                                                                              8             2.5

Buddha                                                                               3             0.9

Missing                                                                              20            6.3

General trends of participant’ attitudes toward violence against wives

The following section describes the descriptive findings of Indonesian students’ attitudes. Given the space limitations, the findings will not described using the table. In general,  Indonesian students in this study leaned toward agreeing   that most acts in the scale are violence against wives, although this inclination was not very strong. Looking more closely, they tended to define violence behavior against wives as physical violence and were less likely to define it in non-physical abuse. For example, 94 % strongly agreed or agreed that threatening to injure wife with sharp objects is violent behavior against wives by the husbands.  Similarly, 91% and 80% strongly agreed or agreed that pulling wife’s hair harshly is violent behavior and  hitting wife (88) as violent behavior against wives by the husbands.

In contrast, a smaller percentage of participants agreed that emotional, controlling acts and forced intercourse are abusive behavior. For example, only 7% ,  18% , and 39% respectively reported they strongly agreed or agreed that “demanding to know where one’s wife is at all times “, and  “forced sex”, as abusive behavior against wives.  Of all non-physical violence listed, only cursing or calling names to wife was viewed as abusive behavior by most of participants (81%).

With regards to contextual justification of violence against wives, three circumstances in which respondents perceived it least acceptable for a husband to hit his wife were: husband was stressed (79%), wife refused to have sex with husband (58%), and wife often nagging (49.78). On the other hand, four situations viewed as the most justified for a husband to hit his wife were “wife was sexually unfaithful” (58%), wife intended to hurt children (56%), wife disobeyed her husband (56%) and wife left the house for a long period of time without husband consent (52%) respectively. Forty and 30% of respondents respectively remained ambivalent whether if wife was drunk and wife flirted with another man warranted a husband to hit his wife.

Overall, Indonesian students who participated in this study indicated the importance of protecting victims’ safety. For example, 92% , 84%, 70% respectively supported that legal protection should be provided for the victim of wife abuse, that government needs to give high attention to violence against wives issue, and victims should ask for help from her natal/ extended family when she was hit by her husband. Nevertheless, the findings also revealed that many respondents indicated ambivalent attitudes toward punishing the abusive husband and protecting the abused wife. For example, 37% , 27%, and 22%  respectively were undecided whether to intervene when they see a violence against wife, whether an abused wife should ask for a divorce, and whether an abused wife should leave the house for her safety.

Factors associated with attitudes toward violence against wives

As indicated in table 2, the multi regression results indicated that definitions of violence against wives differed based on socio-demographic and socio-culture related factors. Controlling for other predictors, gender, field of study, religion, ethnicity, and gender roles attitudes significantly associated with how the participants defined abusive behavior against wives. The standardized coefficients indicated that gender and  the attitude about gender roles was the strongest variable in predicting the definitions about violence against wives. When the  respondent reported more agreement toward gender equality,  the respondents were women,  or the respondent came from bilineal/matrilineal ethnic background, we could predict they would define violent behavior in a broader way than their counterparts.  However, if the students came from the social welfare and nursing studies or reported they were Muslim, we can expect they would view violent behavior against wives by a husband in a narrower sense than their counterparts.

Some of the findings were consistent with those found in other studies. For example, Yick’s (2000) study among Chinese American in California, United States showed that participants with less conservative gender role beliefs were significantly more  likely than their conservative counterparts to agree to consider that various acts presented as  physical, psychological and sexual violence against wives/partners  were violent behavior.  Similarly, DeGregoria (1987) has noted that gender role belief has a profound impact on perceptions of non-physical abuse. Using the ATWS, DeGregorio found that more traditional women rated vignettes that depicted marital inequity and power imbalance as acceptable and socially less active compared to non-traditional women. DeGregoria argued that non-traditional individuals experience greater conflict in relation to their roles in society. Consequently, their own experiences may sensitize them to marital struggles and furthermore abuse.

Table 2. Regression Definitions of Violence Against Wives on Demographic and Socio-Cultural Related Variables(N=318)

Predictor                                                                        Beta                              standardized β                          sigVariables
Constant                                                                        46.64                                                                                .000                                               Gender (1=Female)                                                        6.06                                  .40                                         .000Field of study (1=Nursing &social welfare)              -2.38                                 -.16                                         .007Length of study (semester)                                            .23                                   .06                                           —-

Age                                                                                     .26                                   .06                                           —-

Grown up place (1=big cities)                                      1.20                                   .08                                           —-

Religion (1=Islam)                                                         -3.11                                 -.14                                          .031

Ethnicity (1=bilineal & matrilineal)                             2.02                                   .12                                         .048

Gender role attitudes                                                      .24                                  .20                                          .000

Religiosity                                                                         -.21                                 -.07                                            —-



As indicated in table 3, the multi regression results indicated that contextual approval of  violence against wives significantly associated with gender roles attitudes and length of study significantly associated with whether the students justified some circumstances of violence against wives when other predictors were held constant. When the  respondent reported more agreement toward gender equality or studied longer in their field of study, we could expect that they would reported more contextual disapproval toward violence against wives. In other words, they would perceive less number of  circumstances in which a wife could be hit by a husband than their counterparts.

The fact that attitudes gender roles became a significant predictor of contextual justification of violence against wives was consistent with existing international studies that showed participants with traditional gender role attitudes were more likely to approve the use of physical force by a husband against the wife (Finn, 1986; Yick, 2000; Haj-Yahia, 2005; Haj-Yahia & Uysal, 2008; Haj-Yahia & de Zoysa, 2009). Proponent of feminist perspective such as Dobash & Dobash (1979) have argued that patriarchal structures in society influenced how individuals view femininity and masculinity and how violence against wives is rooted in patriarchal ideologies.







Table 3. Regression Contextual Justification Physical Violence  Against Wives on Demographic and Socio-Cultural Related Variables(N=318)

Predictor                                                                        Beta                              standardized β                          sigVariables
Constant                                                                        24.86                                                                                .002                                               Gender (1=Female)                                                        1.10                                  .06                                         —–Field of study (1=Nursing &social welfare)              -2.15                                 -.12                                         —–Length of study (semester)                                            .76                                   .16                                         .016

Age                                                                                  -.112                                   .02                                           —-

Grown up place (1=big cities)                                      1.59                                   .09                                         ——

Religion (1=Islam)                                                         -1.25                                 -.05                                          —–

Ethnicity (1=bilineal & matrilineal)                            -.521                                 -.03                                          —–

Gender role attitudes                                                    .227                                  .19                                          .009

Religiosity                                                                         .229                                 -.07                                           —-



As showed in table 4 below, attitudes about responses to deal with violence against wives were predicted by gender and attitudes toward gender roles. Gender was the strongest variable in predicting opinions about responses to violence against wives. When the respondents were female or reported stronger support toward the equality between men and women, they would indicated higher support that violence against wives should be dealt with active-resistant approach.

Gender and gender role attitudes had been suggested by previous studies as significant predictors in predicting how people react toward violence against wives. Existing cross-cultural studies  that showed female were more likely to have greater sympathy toward the victims, support protection of victims, and approve criminalizing the perpetrators,  (Choi & Edleson, 1995, Haj-Yahia & de Zoysa, 2009; Robinson, 1999, cited in Bui, 2005). In addition, those who adhered to patriarchy might view punishing husband as weakening the husbands’ control over the family and degrading their status in social life (Haj-Yahia & Uysal, 2008). Consequently, they may believe that husbands have the rights to use violence against wives to maintain authority and that public intervention and criminalization of VAW are not warranted


Table 4. Regression Appropriate Responses to Physical Violence  Against Wives on Demographic and Socio-Cultural Related Variables (N=318)

Predictor                                                                        Beta                              standardized β                          sigVariables
Constant                                                                        44.074                                                                             .000                                               Gender (1=Female)                                                        3.852                                 .25                                      .000Field of study (1=Nursing &social welfare)                -.751                                 -.05                                       —-Length of study (semester)                                            .171                                  .04                                       —-

Age                                                                                    -.159                                 -.04                                       —-

Grown up place (1=big cities)                                        .120                                  .01                                        —-

Religion (1=Islam)                                                          1.604                                 -.07                                       —-

Ethnicity (1=bilineal & matrilineal)                              -.721                                 -.04                                       —-

Gender role attitudes                                                      .189                                  .16                                       .011

Religiosity                                                                         -.288                                 -.09                                        —-




  1. The assessment of participants’ perceptions about definition of violence against wives using open-ended and closed-ended items revealed that most participants tended to view violence against wives as physical violence.  The agreement to classify acts as violence against wives declined as they were presented with forms of non-physical violence that included most forms of psychological, economic, and sexual violence. In other words, participants viewed physical assault as more abusive than non-physical violence.
  2. Some circumstances were viewed by the participants as acceptable for a husband to physically assault his wife. The most typical supported circumstances  when the wives’ behaviors were perceived as deviating from prescribed expectations of faithful or good wife such as having extra marital affairs, disobeyed the husband, or hurting the children.
  3.  A large percentage of Indonesian students in this study supported responses to protect the victims either through formal or informal provisions. However, many of them also remained ambivalent about punishing the perpetrator through the criminal justice system or giving more means for the victims to leave abusive relationships.
  4. Attitudes toward gender roles and gender were found to be the most consistent predictors of student attitudes toward violence against wives. Considering the significance of gender role attitude in this study, education system needs to pay more attention to promoting and strengthening curriculum that counter beliefs about gender discrimination. While attitudes do not always correlate with behavior, it is an important predictor. Targeting male students could be another important strategy so that they would have more favorable attitudes toward violence against women or prevent them from doing such violence.
  5. The field of study was a significant predictor in defining violence against wives. The study recommends that the subject related to gender based violence and human rights is strengthened, especially in social welfare and nursing programs.
  6. It is also important to encourage the re-interpretations of potentially pro-violence norms or beliefs that stem from conventional or gender bias cultural and religious teaching that still exist among the students. At the same time, the promotion of cultural and religious teachings that strengthen gender equality, especially the ones that promote the rights of women in general and wives in particular needs to be promoted..






                        The author would like to extent appreciation to those who helped data collection in this study: Gigin K. Basar, Nandang Mulyana, Neneng Y. Yuningsih, Iman Soleh, Ade Rini, and Mathias Siagian.


















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