Attitudes Towards Domestic Violence in Hungary Inhibit Equality
Tuesday, June 20, 2006 2:05 PM

Officials of the Liberal Party in Hungary have called for concerted action against endemic domestic violence in the country, a phenomenon that affects a significant number of women yet is often overlooked. They argue that Hungary, like many other countries in the region, is steeped in a patriarchal tradition that implicitly accepts domestic violence and relegates it to the private sphere. In addition, the existing legal framework for domestic violence is extremely limited. Notably, Hungarian law does not provide for the issuance of restraining orders, a critical tool for victims of domestic violence who seek legal remedy. And although basic criminal statutes exist to hold perpetrators of domestic violence accountable, police and other enforcement entities tend to view domestic violence as a household issue and to act accordingly.

Activists in Hungary also point to the low rate of female representation in political life and the challenges women face in earning top employment positions as indicative of the status of women in the country. Though traditional cultural attitudes and gender stereotypes are most often cited as responsible for the country’s seeming indifference towards these issues, others blame the communist legacy as well. Gender equality and the feminist movement of today are often conflated with the forced equality of the communist era and subsequently disregarded. 

Compiled from: Christine Rotter, "'Acceptance' of Domestic Violence Blocks Equality," The Budapest Sun Online,, 15 June 2006.