Among the traditional practices challenging the status of women in East Timor or women in Timor-Leste include not being able to inherit or own property and the cultural notion that women normally belongs to the home.
Apart from these customary concepts, East Timorese women also confront domestic violence. Rape cases and sexual slavery were allegedly committed by East Timorese pro-integration militias during the September 1999 crisis in East Timor. One of the organizations that promote empowerment and foster gender equality for the women of East Timor is the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM). In 2010, a law was passed making domestic violence a public crime, but the practice remained prevalent nevertheless. In a 2009–10 Demographic and Health Survey, 36% of married women reported having experienced physical, psychological or sexual violence from their husband or partner, but only 24% reported discussing this with anyone and only 4% reported seeking help from the police. According to the same survey, 71% of men believe that the wife's neglecting children justifies the husband's beating her, while 72% of women believe that a husband is justified in beating his wife if she goes out without informing him. According to activists in non-governmental organizations such as Asisténsia Legál ba Feto no Labarik, domestic violence is severaly under-reported and the punishments are not deterrent: in one case, a man who "stabbed his wife in the back of the head and struck her repeatedly with a block of wood, after an argument about feeding their children" only received a suspended jail sentence of seven months.