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Domestic Violence іn Ukrainian Traditional Culture

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The authors of the publication:
Ihnatenko Iryna
Bibliographic description:
Ihnatenko, I. (2019) Domestic Violence іn Ukrainian Traditional Culture. Folk Art and Ethnology, 2 (378), 56–65.


Ihnatenko Iryna

a Ph.D. in History, an associate professor at Ethnology and Regional Studies Department of the Taras Shevchenko Kyiv National University


DomesticViolence іnUkrainianTraditionalCulture



An attempt to consider and analyze the problem of domestic violence in traditional peasant culture of the mid­XIXth – early XXth centuries is proposed in the article on the base of the ethnographic sources analysis. This issue has been concealed for a long time. What domestic violence is and why it occures is discussed. Drawing on ethnological sources, the authoress tries to understand the patriarchy significance in the development of domestic violence. The researcher is focused on the uncovering of domestic violence social support, identification of situations where abuse may occur, including family partner violence, child and elderly members.

The scientist proves that husbands have the right from society to punish wives physically in the case of disobedience, betrayal, laziness or wastefulness. The well-grounded violence against women is tolerated by a normative social culture. The gender contradictions are caused primarily by the dominion of a man over a woman. It is important to note, that the status of marriage pride can give women some tolerance for violence from the husband’s side. Fearing to lose her husband and thus the status of being married, women silently suffer domestic violence. In case of very hard domestic violence (alcoholism is a widespread cause of it), rural society tries to limit it. Punishment for an offender is fine or short-term imprisonment but can’t be a strong reason for divorce.

However, physical violence is ubiquitous phenomenon in relationships not only between a husband and a wife but also regarding children and old people. A mother or a father can punish children. Hitting them is believed to be very effective for a good child’s upbringing.

So, while analyzing relationships in families of the mid­XIXth – early XXth centuries, we can see that physical violence is considered as a justified tool. It is used to put an order in the division of gender roles.



domestic violence, patriarchy, childhood.



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