The SWMENA survey asked about experience with marital conflict and attitudes towards domestic violence in Morocco.
Married survey respondents were asked about how they resolved disagreements in their household.
- Figure 9 shows that nearly three-quarters of respondents (72%) say they solve problems through rational dialogue, 14% of respondents said that their disagreements lead to yelling and insults, and 10% said that their disagreements lead to an interruption in communication.
- Three percent of respondents reported that their disagreements escalated to violence.
Women and men were asked, “To what extent would you say that domestic violence or the physical abuse of wives on behalf of their husbands is generally tolerated or rejected by people in your neighborhood/area?”
Figure 10 shows that there are large differences in attitudes toward domestic violence by gender.
- The overwhelming majority of women feel that domestic violence is completely rejected (91%), while less than half of men share this sentiment (42%).
- Moroccan men are four times as likely as Moroccan women to claim that domestic violence is widely or somewhat tolerated (13% vs. 3%), and nine times as likely to claim that domestic violence is somewhat rejected (45% vs. 5%).
The survey asked respondents to provide the reasons that explain why a husband might physically abuse his wife, and open-ended responses were coded into categories. Up to five reasons could be provided by a single respondent. The top ten most frequently cited reasons by women and men are shown in Table 2.
- Overall, women and men provide different reasons for domestic violence and at different frequencies. Women indicate a lack of understanding and communication between spouses as the primary reason for domestic violence, whereas this was the second most frequent reason cited by men (45% of women and 36% of men). Nearly one half (46%) of men indicated that it was because the wife did something wrong or needs to be punished, as the primary reason for domestic violence, compared to 36% of women.
- Twice as many women as men (22% of women and 10% of men) cite drinking and drug addiction as a reason why a husband might physically abuse his wife.
- Twice as many men as women (18% of men and 9% of women) indicate low education/intellectual levels as a reason why a husband might physically abuse his wife.
Three in ten Moroccan men report that they personally find it acceptable for a husband to beat his wife, whereas less than one in ten Moroccan women (9%) share this sentiment (Figure 11).
In addition to asking a general question about whether respondents found it personally acceptable for a husband to beat his wife, the survey asked if respondents found such behaviors justified when framed in terms of six specific situations:
- If she neglected household responsibilities
- If she was disobedient or did not follow his orders
- If she neglected the children
- If she tried to impose her views
- If she went out without telling her husband
- If she refused sex
Figure 12 shows three of these reasons by gender. The pattern is similar for the other three reasons offered by the interviewer. Interestingly, when respondents are asked the same question within the context of a specific situation, women and men are more likely to justify domestic violence.
- Domestic violence is most accepted when a women “is disobedient or did not follow [her husband’s] orders” and “if she went out without telling her husband.” Over one-third of respondents said that domestic violence is sometimes or always justified in these events.
- Nearly three in ten women (27%) and men (27%) agreed that it is sometimes or always justified for a man to beat his wife if she neglects her household responsibilities.
- Thirty percent of women and 32% of men said it was somewhat or always justified for women to be beaten if they neglected their children.
Figure 13 shows three of these reasons for women who responded by educational attainment. The pattern is similar for the other three reasons offered by the interviewer.
- In each case, women with more education report less acceptance of domestic violence for the justification offered.
- At the lowest level—no education—30% to 40% of women think a husband beating his wife is always or sometimes justified by the reason given.
- The percentage always or sometimes accepting the justification offered declines to 4% to 6% among women with a secondary degree or higher.