Nearly one in four married Syrian women has suffered from domestic violence, a United Nations Development Fund for Woman study, recently revealed. The study, conducted by the quasi-governmental General Union of Women was published in the Syrian media in order to increase awareness of domestic abuse, the New York Times reported. A random sample of 1,900 Syrian women from all income levels and regions participated in the research. The women's spouses also participated in the study, though they were questioned separately from their wives. Prior to the study, domestic violence was not seen as a problem in Syria. Spokesperson for the General Union of Women Hana Qaddoura, said that many Syrians did not believe that violence in the home "counted" as violence. Many of these cases were only seen as signs of a bad relationship. Local women's rights activists noted that the importance of the findings were important, not because of the data revealed - the frequency of the problem did not differ greatly from that in other countries - but rather in the fact that the taboo had been broken. They said they would try to develop programs to protect the victims of spousal abuse. Bassam al-Kadi, a rights advocate, hoped that in response to the study, there may be more openness to discuss violence against women, particularly the phenomenon of honor killings, in which women are killed by their own families for improper sexual conduct. Kadi noted that in the past the topic was banned by Syrian media. Even when discussed privately, incidents of honor killings were referred to as "accidents." He expressed the hope that public discourse might now become more open to discuss these matters.