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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 10  |  Issue : 8  |  Page : 2845-2852

Prevalence of spousal violence among married women in a rural area in North Kerala

Department of Community Medicine, Perinthalmanna, Kerala, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. Jesha Mohammedali Mundodan
Associate Professor, Community Medicine, MES Medical College, Perinthalmanna, Kerala
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/jfmpc.jfmpc_2313_20

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Background: Domestic violence has substantial public health consequences. More than one-third of women globally suffer from physical and sexual violence, mostly by an intimate partner with a lifetime prevalence of 10%–69%. In India, 28.8% of the ever-married women in the reproductive age group, reported domestic violence. Although Kerala, in southern India, performs better than other Indian states on a host of human development indicators for women, 15.8% among the women in this group have ever experienced physical or sexual violence in the past 12 months, the most common perpetrator being the husband. Methodology: A community-based cross-sectional study was carried out among the ever-married women, residing in a selected area of northern Kerala, who have been married for at least 1 year. One to one structured interview was conducted with a pretested structured questionnaire by the investigator. Spousal violence was defined as proportion of ever-married women with a lifetime experience of violence perpetrated by their spouse, manifested through acts of physical, sexual, and/or emotional violence, even threat. Results: A total of 290 women were interviewed. The age of the participants ranged from 18 years to 64 years; majority were Muslims. Only 16.5% were college-educated and over 90% were homemakers. 29% reported having experienced spousal violence; with the most common being emotional violence (19%) closely followed by sexual violence (18.6%) and physical violence (14.8%). A little over one-third (39.7%) reported controlling behaviour of their husband. Age of the participant (P = 0.019), absence of social support (P = 0.034), employment status of husband (P = 0.026), controlling behaviour of husband (P < 0.001), alcohol abuse by husband (P = 0.004) and extra-marital relationship of spouse (P < 0.001) were found to have significant influence on spousal violence experience. Conclusion: More than a quarter of the married women in this rural setting have experienced one or the other form of violence. Recommendation: A multifaceted approach needs to be employed which takes into consideration legal measures, social sciences, women empowerment, mental health systems and educate the men to curb this menace.

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