As local human rights groups continue to advocate for equality amongst the genders, a recent international survey has shown that acceptance of domestic violence in Guyana is relatively high.
The Americas Barometer survey has been conducting interviews with thousands of Guyanese over the past few years with focus on democratic values and behaviours in the Americas.
During a revelation of the findings late last week, Dr. Elizabeth Zechmeister of the Latin American Public Opinion Project (LAPOP) said the survey showed domestic violence is relatively accepted in Guyana.
During interviews carried out between 2006 and 2014, respondents were asked whether they would or would not approve of a man hitting his wife if she had been unfaithful. They were also asked whether they would not approve but understand the abuse.
According to the survey, 10.2% of respondents approved while 25.4% of respondents did not approve of the abuse but understood. Further, 64.4% of respondents neither approved nor understood the abuse.
Zechmeister said the responses indicated a relatively high level of acceptance, especially when compared to other countries in the Americas. The data showed that Guyana was ranked third with 35.6% in interviewed countries on the acceptance of domestic violence. Ranked just above Guyana was El Salvador at 42.1% while Guatemala was ranked highest at 58%.
Margaret Kertzious, Coordinator of the Guyana Help and Shelter said the results of the survey were not surprising as domestic violence is perceived to be a normal activity in the Guyanese culture. She noted that persons were constantly seen fighting, even on the streets, and she deemed the society an abusive one. She said too that persons who lived overseas and who interacted with her would constantly ponder why abuse was so accepted in Guyana.
Further, she said, domestic violence was so pervasive that most Guyanese children were already aware or had experienced it in their lives.