A study done by the Zurich University of Applied Sciences shows surprisingly high support for violence against women among young people in Switzerland, according to the Aargauer Zeitung.
8,300 young people at school aged 17 and 18 across 10 cantons were asked a series questions. Around half of the group were boys.
As part of a long questionnaire they were asked whether they agreed with the statements: “If a woman cheats on her husband he is allowed to beat her” and “The man as head of the family may use force if necessary.”
Reponses to these two questions varied significantly by religion and country of origin.
Overall, 7% of boys agreed with both statements. This percentage rose to 19.4% among muslim boys. Protestant (4.5%), atheist (4.8%) and Catholics (7.1%) boys were less likely to agree with the statements.
The differences were even more marked when country of origin was considered. Boys originating from Sri Lanka (23.2%), Macedonia (21.2%), Kosovo (19.1%), Turkey (15.5%) and Italy (11.2%) had the highest percentages condoning violence against women. Rates were lower for those from Portugal (9.1%), France (6.3%), Germany (5.4%) and Switzerland (4.6%).
Social status, measured by the level of education of the parents and recourse to welfare, had no discernable impact on the percentages. And, there was no difference between city or country dwellers.
Dirk Baier, the study’s author, thinks the clear gender roles instilled by islam and catholicism are behind the differences. These religions provide clear images of men as dominant bread winners and women as subordinate homemakers. Individuals without religious affiliation have less clear gender images, reducing the risk men will believe they have a right to dominate women.
Aargauer Zeitung article (in German)