Women in Private Spaces

The SWMENA survey asked about attitudes towards domestic violence in Lebanon. While other surveys (for example, some of the Demographic and Health Surveys or DHS) have attempted to measure the prevalence with which women experience domestic violence, the SWMENA project measured community opinion and norms toward domestic violence in general and in specific (hypothetical) situations.

Figure 7 shows women’s reported tolerance of domestic violence tabulated overall and broken down by sect.

The survey asked respondents to provide the reasons that might explain why a husband might physically abuse his wife and open-ended responses were coded into categories. Up to three reasons could be provided by a single respondent. The top ten most frequently cited reasons for women are shown in Table 1, along with the corresponding percentage among men.

Very few Lebanese women and men report that they personally find it acceptable for a husband to beat his wife (Figure 8).

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:


The final question in this section asks about crimes men commit against women who are related to them in ways other than marriage. The survey asked, “As you may know, sometimes male relatives kill or commit acts of violence against women in their family to avenge the family’s honor when these women commit adultery or engage in pre-marital sexual relations. In Lebanon, these types of acts are not prosecuted by law on the basis that they are considered “honor crimes.” Do you support changing this law to allow the prosecution of those who commit these types of crimes or do you support keeping the current law as it is now?”