POLL: Over 10% of South Africans believe men have rights to hit their wives

A newly released poll from the office of global market research firm, Ipsos, highlights what some may consider concerning views on gender equality from ordinary South Africans, at a time when the spotlight is focused on the issue of gender-based violence following the murder of women such as Uyinene Mrwetyana, Leighandre Jegels, and Jesse Hess.

The poll’s introduction states: “With the focus on women during August, the demonstrations in Cape Town at the same time as the WEF conference on Africa and the attention in the media the last few weeks on incidents of gender-based violence, Ipsos examines the diverse opinions that South Africans have towards issues of women’s place in marital relations as well as violence towards women.”

According to the poll, over 60% of both men and women agree that a woman must obey her partner or husband. The margin of women who support this idea is in fact 2 percentage points higher than that of men, with the poll finding that 64% of women vs 62% of men believe a man must be obeyed by his partner.

While the poll shows that 78% of respondents disagree that a man has the right to hit his partner or wife, alarmingly, over 10% of respondents believe that a man has the right to do so.

As Ipsos puts it, “the levels of agreement that physical abuse is acceptable are still alarmingly high, and at least one in every 10 South Africans find this acceptable”.

“Is it then strange that physical abuse of women is so prevalent in our country?”

The poll saw Ipsos speak to 3,600 South Africans across the country through in-home face-to-face interviews between March 22 and April 17 this year.

“The margin of error for this study is between 0.75% and 1.65%, depending on sample size, response rate and sampling methodology,” the poll says.

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