One of the major problems faced by the women of Uzbekistan is domestic violence and it is a widespread phenomenon. Domestic violence is the violation of the fundamental human rights of the women. It is a serious problem and women of all ages and socio-economic background is experiencing it on a daily basis. The Government of Uzbekistan has not succeeded in its endeavor to combat against domestic violence. It has failed to take adequate steps to address the problem. Even when the problem is acknowledged sometimes, the government officials consider it as a problem to be solved by the family or the community.
The traditional family structure has a strong influence on the prevalence of domestic violence in Uzbekistan. More than 45 percent of women marry before the age of 20 although the legal marriageable age is 17. The parents of the daughters constantly try to marry off their daughters as soon as possible to avoid societal stigma. Women are married off with huge dowry and in the husband’s family they occupy the lowest position in the hierarchy. Daughters-in-law are expected to play a very subservient role in the family structure. Polygamy is also prevalent in the region though it is illegal and it is not confined to rural areas alone.
Women generally do not talk about the violence because they feel ashamed and embarrassed about their situation. And women take legal help only when the abuse is extreme. Though Uzbekistan has a number of laws against acts of violence but a variety of obstacles within the criminal justice system hinders the investigation. Domestic violation is not treated like the other crimes and women are often told to reconcile unless they are inflicted with serious injury or death.
All women regardless of social, economic class, color of their skin or origin are vulnerable against domestic violence. However, if specialized assistance is available to women subjected to violence, including assistance in child care, counseling, health services, welfare benefits and housing assistance etc violence against women can be prevented.