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Differential Perceptions of the Seriousness of Male Violence Against Female Intimate Partners Among Jews and Arabs in Israel

NCJ Number
Journal of Interpersonal Violence Volume: 19 Issue: 8 Dated: August 2004 Pages: 891-900
Sergio Herzog
Date Published
August 2004
10 pages
This study compared perceptions of the seriousness of male violence against female intimate partners among Jews and Arabs living in Israel.
As expected, Arab men held significantly more permissive attitudes toward male violence against female intimate partners compared with Jewish men. In evaluating the severity of various hypothetical crime scenarios that involved male violence against female intimate partners, Jewish respondents ranked marital assault as a relatively serious offense; whereas, the Arab respondents ranked it as almost the least serious offense among the crime scenarios presented to them. Regarding marital murder and date rape, both Arabs and Jews considered these two crimes to be the most serious of the evaluated scenarios. Nevertheless, whether or not a violent act becomes a homicide is often a matter of chance; therefore, the Arab population in Israel should be viewed as being at higher risk for marital murder or assault, whether as an offender or a victim. The findings suggest cultural differences in attitudes toward male violence against female intimate partners. This indicates that ways must be found to modify cultural values and social structures that condone and promote male violence against women and the social structures that facilitate men exercising power over women. The 635 Jewish respondents and 352 Arab respondents were asked to assess the seriousness of 18 crime scenarios that represented various criminal offenders, including male violence against intimate female partners. The latter scenarios include a marital murder (a man kills his wife because he suspects she is cheating on him); a date rape (a man forces a girl to have sexual relations with him while they are on a date); and a marital assault (a husband beats his wife because he suspects she has been unfaithful). 2 tables and 16 references