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Perceptions and attitude towards violence against women by their spouses: A qualitative study in Northwest Ethiopia.

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Introduction: To stop violence against women by their spouses we need to understand how the specific society perceives and views such violence. Then and only then can we institute effective and acceptable strategy to tackle the problem. Objective: To assess community perceptions and attitude towards violence against women by their spouses Methods: We conducted a qualitative study using focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with women, family arbitrators, healthcare workers, psychosocial experts, victims and perpetrator of violence, and law enforcement bodies in Gondar town, Northwest Ethiopia. Data were analyzed thematically using the Open Code Software. Results: The normative expectation that conflicts are inevitable in marriage makes it difficult for society to reject violence. Acts of violence against women represent unacceptable behavior according to existing social and gender norms when there is no justification for the act and the act causes severe harm. There is considerable permissiveness of violent acts when the act is not regarded as wrong, there is socially acceptable premise, and the consequences are deemed mild. Marital rape is not understood well and there is less willingness to condemn it. Conclusions: We conclude that there is insufficient understanding of violence against women in its contemporary use and many people hold a non-disapproving stance regarding violence against women by their spouses calling for a culturally sensitive information, education and communication intervention. [Ethiop. J. Health Dev. 2010(1):39-45]

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