Beating family members is common practice in many societies where a husband's right to physically punish his wife and other relatives is considered to be a natural and legitimate means of maintaining order, which has a solid foundation in society and the legal system. The right of the family head to abandon disabled children, to expose and kill newborn children as a means of birth control is also upheld in many societies. Corporal punishment in the home serves to discipline domestic life and regulate excesses or laziness. It is considered essential practice in many subsistence cultures where all members of a family work must function in order for them all to survive.
In some traditional Somali tribal cultures, wife beating is expected by prospective brides and has been described by husbands as a form of love. 40% of USA men considered it normal to hit their partners.
The situation of physical punishment within the family must be relativized against family stability and and social order.
Family violence is cruelty exercised on those nearest, most vulnerable, least able or inclined to defend themselves; in short it is usually practised on women and children.
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