Background: Domestic violence is a social phenomenon where a family member, husband, wife or another cohabiting person in the household tries to dominate, physically or mentally, the other partner, children, parents, grandparents, in-laws, etc., using their physical advantage, threats, blackmail, with the intention of harm. The aim of the study was find the perceptions of university students regarding the phenomenon of violence and to show similarities and differences in this respect between students from Poland and Belarus (PL and BY).
Methods: A total of 482 persons took part in the study, including 251 students from Szczecin (Poland) and 231 students from Grodno (Belarus). The method was a diagnostic survey using the authors’ original questionnaire. The questionnaire consisted of two parts: the first, containing 6 demographic questions, and the second containing 25 mainly closed-ended questions.
Results: In the perceptions of the respondents from Poland and Belarus, women are statistically more likely to experience violence, and men are more likely to use it. The responses of students from Poland and Belarus show statistical connections regarding such behaviors as a single spank, shouting, refusing to talk – recognizing them mostly as a form of violence. The respondents from both countries also show a convergent position concerning quarrelling and forcing a person to drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes, recognizing them as violent behavior. Significant differences can also be observed with regard to such behaviors as throwing objects, name-calling and mocking, which do not indicate violence in the opinions of the majority of students from Belarus, in contrast to the Polish students, who perceive these behaviors as violent.
Conclusions: Students from both countries acknowledge that the concealment of domestic violence by victims mainly results from fear of worsening their already difficult situation as well as from fear of retaliation by the perpetrator.
Copyright. In accordance with Bethesda Statement on Open Access Publishing (released June 20, 2003, available from: http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/bethesda.htm), all works published in JIVR are open access and are immediately available to anyone on the website of the journal without cost. JIVR is an open-access journal distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.