Masculinity, Femininity and Domestic Violence in Assiut, Egypt

Rosalie A. Haughton, Emory University
Kathryn M. Yount, Emory University

Intimate partner violence (IPV) against women is widespread globally. Survey research in Egypt has shown a strong association between a woman’s relative resources in marriage and her odds of experiencing IPV. Extending Komter’s (1989) theory of manifest, latent and invisible power in marriage, we use in-depth interviews with ever-married men (N=24) and women (N=19) to explore the nature and meanings of gender complementarity, status compatibility and conflict in marriage in Assiut, Egypt. We also reveal women’s day-to-day encounters with manifest, latent and invisible power not only in marriage, but also in their extended families and peer interactions. This analysis situates the nature and meaning of “domestic violence” against women in a highly patriarchal and communal context in which men’s control in marriage and the family is a complex, shifting, yet ever salient, expectation of men and women.

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Presented in Session 173: Gender and Intimate Partner Violence