Intimate partner violence in urban Pakistan: prevalence, frequency, and risk factors
Tazeen S Ali1,2, Nargis Asad3, Ingrid Mogren4, Gunilla Krantz5
1School of Nursing, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; 2Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Global Health, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden; 3Department of Psychiatry, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; 4Department of Clinical Science, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden; 5Department of Public Health and Community Medicine/Social Medicine, The Sahlgrenska Academy at University of Gothenburg, Göteborg, Sweden
Background: Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an important public health issue with severe adverse consequences. Population-based data on IPV from Muslim societies are scarce, and Pakistan is no exception. This study was conducted among women residing in urban Karachi, to estimate the prevalence and frequency of different forms of IPV and their associations with sociodemographic factors.
Methods: This cross-sectional community-based study was conducted using a structured questionnaire developed by the World Health Organisation for research on violence. Community midwives conducted face-to-face interviews with 759 married women aged 25–60 years.
Results: Self-reported past-year and lifetime prevalence of physical violence was 56.3 and 57.6%, respectively; the corresponding figures for sexual violence were 53.4% and 54.5%, and for psychological abuse were 81.8% and 83.6%. Violent incidents were mostly reported to have occurred on more than three occasions during the lifetime. Risk factors for physical violence related mainly to the husband, his low educational attainment, unskilled worker status, and five or more family members living in one household. For sexual violence, the risk factors were the respondent’s low educational attainment, low socioeconomic status of the family, and five or more family members in one household. For psychological violence, the risk factors were the husband being an unskilled worker and low socioeconomic status of the family.
Conclusion: Repeated violence perpetrated by a husband towards his wife is an extremely common phenomenon in Karachi, Pakistan. Indifference to this type of violence against women stems from the attitude that IPV is a private matter, usually considered a justifiable response to misbehavior on the part of the wife. These findings point to serious violations of women’s rights and require the immediate attention of health professionals and policymakers.
Keywords: intimate partner violence, domestic violence, Pakistan, gender inequality, prevalence, frequency, risk factors
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