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Abstract

Bangladesh is a patriarchal society where powerlessness and vulnerability are associated with women’s lives, as they are often found in positions where they are dominated and subjugated by men. Women are often controlled by their father, husband and son at different phases of their lives, and due to this reason a woman commonly has risk of experiencing domestic violence within her family. Though Bangladesh is experiencing a relatively high level of gender equality for South Asia, it is still not very surprising that a husband is more likely to assault and/or batter his educated/financially solvent wife if she fails to meet his demands or to perform household work. Domestic violence often takes place in form of physical aggression or threats, sexual and emotional abuse, stalking, passive/covert abuse, and economic deprivations. There have been many studies investigating the social and cultural reasoning of such heinous behaviour and crimes in Bangladesh. This paper focuses on criminological perspectives (e.g. individual personalities, socialisation, moral upbringings, and drug addiction of male partner) in addition to the feminist theory of domestic violence. These variables work together to conceptualise domestic violence. Theory integration has been used to amalgamate a number of relevant theories to gain a more eclectic and broad understanding of this phenomenon. Hence, in this study, all the relevant factors and aspects of criminological theories of domestic violence have been analysed and put in context to Bangladesh. The methodology includes a wide literature review on the issue of domestic violence and a survey with victims and perpetrators. The study reveals the continuing persistence of misogynistic gender roles in the society and the dominance of men over women in an abusive and subjugated manner that ultimately results in domestic violence. Additionally, results suggest that for households where abuse occurs and children are present, the children grow up having this violence ingrained and normalized due to the modelling of family members.

Note on the Author

Khandaker Farzana Rahman is an Assistant Professor of Criminology, University of Dhaka. Her research centers on gender, crime and criminal justice, youth crime and correction, prison and penal policy, drugs and organised crime.

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