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ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2012  |  Volume : 56  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 31-36  

Domestic violence among ever married women of reproductive age group in a slum area of Kolkata


1 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Calcutta National Medical College, Kolkata, India
2 Associate Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Midnapore Medical College, Paschim Medinipur, India
3 Assistant Professor, Department of Psychiatry, Calcutta National Medical College, Kolkata, India
4 Professor and Head, Department of Community Medicine, Medical College, Kolkata, India
5 Professor, Department of Epidemiology, All India Institute of Hygiene and Public Health, Kolkata, India
6 Assistant Professor, Department of Community Medicine, Medical College, Kolkata, India

Date of Web Publication6-Jun-2012

Correspondence Address:
Abhik Sinha
Flat number C/1, Third floor 281, Dumdum Park, Kolkata - 700055
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0019-557X.96955

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   Abstract 

Background: Domestic violence has serious impact on women's health and well-being. A nationwide survey conducted in India observed that 37.2% of women experienced violence after marriage. Objectives: To assess the prevalence of domestic violence among the ever married women in reproductive age group and to find out the types of domestic violence and factors associated with it. Materials and Methods: The study was a community based cross-sectional study, conducted in a slum area of Kolkata. Results and Conclusion: Overall prevalence of domestic violence was 54%, of which 41.9% suffered from both current and lifetime physical and psychological violence. Presence of property, higher per capita income and social support were protective factors against domestic violence, whereas alcohol addiction and multiple sex partners were the important contributory factors for it. The study recommended more social support, awareness and income generation for women in the slum areas.

Keywords: Current and lifetime physical and psychological violence, Domestic violence, Social support, Urban slum


How to cite this article:
Sinha A, Mallik S, Sanyal D, Dasgupta S, Pal D, Mukherjee A. Domestic violence among ever married women of reproductive age group in a slum area of Kolkata. Indian J Public Health 2012;56:31-6

How to cite this URL:
Sinha A, Mallik S, Sanyal D, Dasgupta S, Pal D, Mukherjee A. Domestic violence among ever married women of reproductive age group in a slum area of Kolkata. Indian J Public Health [serial online] 2012 [cited 2019 Sep 20];56:31-6. Available from: http://www.ijph.in/text.asp?2012/56/1/31/96955


   Introduction Top


Domestic violence is a global issue, reaching across national boundaries as well as socio-economic, cultural, racial and class distributions. It is a widespread, deeply ingrained evil, which has serious impact on woman's health and well-being. Domestic violence can be described as the power, misused by one adult in a relationship, to control another. It is perpetrated by and on both men and women. However, most commonly the victims are women and the perpetrators are their husbands. [1]

Domestic violence not only causes physical injury, it also undermines the social, economic and psychological well-being of the victim, the perpetrator and the society as a whole. It has serious consequences on women's mental and physical health, including their reproductive and sexual health. These include injuries, gynecological problems, temporary or permanent disabilities, depression and suicide amongst others.

National Family Health Survey (NFHS) - III carried out in 29 states of India in 2005-06 has found that, nationwide 37.2% of women experience violence after marriage. Bihar was highest with 59% and while in West Bengal, it was 40.3%. Of these incidences, 63% were reported from urban families. [2] Few studies [3],[4] have shown the prevalence of domestic violence to be higher in slum population than in general population. Studies done in slum population in Bangalore [3] and Nagpur [4] have reported it as 50% and 66%, respectively, whereas relevant data are scarce in Kolkata. Thus, this study was conducted in an urban slum under Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC) with the objectives of to find out the prevalence of domestic violence among the ever married women in reproductive age group (15-49) in the slum population under study, to assess the types of domestic violence among them and to identify the factors associated with it.


   Materials and Methods Top


This descriptive cross-sectional, community based study was conducted in a slum under Kolkata Municipal Corporation (KMC), which is also the Urban Field Practice Area (UFPA) of Medical College, Kolkata. This area is part of ward 40 under borough 5. The total families in the field practice area were 600 with population of 2766 (2001 census). 15-45 year females constituted 22.45% of the population. Sex ratio was 867 females per 1000 males in the study area. Study population constituted of all the ever-married women in the reproductive age group residing in that slum area. Duration of study was 3 months i.e. from September - November, 2008. Institutional ethical clearance was obtained before the study. Magnitude of the problem of domestic violence and objectives of the study were explained to the study subjects before interview and an informed consent was taken (in this study, none refused to give consent). Assurance about the anonymity and not disclosing the details of interview to husband / guardian were ensured. Pre-designed, pre-tested, semi-structured proforma was used to interview the study population. Proforma was prepared in local language (Bengali) with the help of experts of Psychiatry, Community Medicine and Sociology.

Operational definition of domestic violence was used as per definition of the United Nations [5] as "any act of gender-based violence that results in, or is likely to result in physical, sexual or psychological harm or suffering to women, including threats of such acts, coercion or arbitrary deprivations of liberty, whether occurring in public or private life".

Study Technique was as follows:

From the family folders of UFPA, list of all the ever-married women in the reproductive age group, residing in that slum was prepared and all of them were included in the study. It was a convenience sampling. Interview was taken from the women according to the list, in their respective households, in the absence of their guardian / husband, but in presence of the local Anganwadi worker (AWW) with the help of a pre-designed, pre-tested proforma. Information was taken about the socio-demographic profile of the study population and any occurrence of domestic violence (both physical and psychological) imparted to them. Presence of domestic violence (either physical or psychological) in the last 1 year was regarded as current violence, and the presence of domestic violence (either physical or psychological) anytime in their lifetime, but before 1 year was regarded as life time violence.

In the study, physical violence was elicited if the respondent mentioned about hitting, kicking, beating, slapping, forced sex etc. Similarly insulting, demeaning, frightening, withholding food, threatening someone the wife cares were considered as psychological violence. Social support and presence of property were assessed by asking the relevant questions to the respondent.

Descriptive measures like frequency were used to summarize the socio-demographic data of the subjects. In order to compare the distribution of various socio-demographic factors between subjects with or without domestic violence, Z test for proportion was used. Socio-demographic variables emerging highly significant (P < 0.001) from this univariate analysis were included in the logistic regression model. The model had presence or absence of domestic violence as binary determinant variable, and the socio-demographic variables found to be highly significant from univariate analysis, were included as independent variables in the model. Data was compiled and analyzed by Epi Info 3.4.3 version (downloaded free version in 2007) and SPSS 17 version (year 2010). Statistical analysis was done using different statistical tests.


   Results Top


In the present study, data was collected from 159 ever married women in the reproductive age group (mean age - 28.52 ± 5.44 years). Mean age of their husbands were 34.16 ± 6.97 years. Among the study population, 149 (93.71%) were Hindu and 10 (6.29%) were Muslims; 131 (82.4%) were living with their husband and 28 (17.6%) with their parents, 30.9% were illiterate, 34.0% completed primary education, 18.9% read up to middle school, 12.6% passed secondary level and 3% studied up to higher secondary and above.

So far as occupation was concerned, 58.5% of the study population were homemakers, 22% were unskilled laborers, 10% were skilled laborers, 6% were doing service, 3% were self employed or having own business. Among the husbands, 4.4% were unemployed, 3.8% were professionals, 21.4% were unskilled laborers, 23.3% were skilled laborers, 27.7% were doing service and 19.5% were self employed.

Regarding social support of the study population, 8% had support from the natal family, 9% from neighbors, 20% from both and 58% had no support. Regarding property, 54% had none and 46% had some property in the form of land, money, ornament alone or in combination.

In the present study, prevalence of domestic violence was found to be 54%. The perpetrators were mostly the husbands (in 81.8% cases), followed by other members of the family like mother in law, father in law in 6.3% of the cases. Psychological violence was more common than physical violence. So far as types of violence were concerned, 19.8% had only lifetime psychological violence, whereas 13.9% were subjected to both lifetime and current psychological violence, but no physical violence. 41.9% of women were having both current and lifetime, physical and psychological violence. 18.6% of women had history of both physical and psychological violence in their lifetime, but having only psychological violence at present. 5.8% were not having any sort of violence at present, but had both lifetime physical and psychological violence [Table 1]. Hitting, beating and slapping were the commonest forms of physical violence, whereas insulting, threatening and withholding or delaying food were the most common forms of psychological violence.
Table 1: Types of violence among the domestic violence victims (N = 86)

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Among the major factors associated with domestic violence, some serious issues came out such as, alcohol addiction of the husband, dowry related problems and not having a male child, as well as some inconspicuous reasons like not cooking properly or talking with neighbors etc. [Figure 1]. Domestic violence was observed significantly more when husbands had alcohol addiction, multiple sex partners and low per capita income and significantly less when women had some social support or property [Table 2]. [Table 3] shows the findings of logistic regression. Presences of social support of wife, property of wife, alcohol addiction of husband and per-capita income of the family were found to have significant influence on presence or absence of domestic violence. Though no significant difference was found so far as literacy and occupation of both partners were concerned, domestic violence was seen more when husband was employed but wife unemployed (60.5%) than when both were employed (31.4%). Domestic violence was also observed more when husband was literate but wife illiterate (18.6%) than husband illiterate and wife literate (4.7%).
Figure 1: Distribution of study subjects according to the main reasons of domestic violence (N = 86)

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Table 2: Distribution of the factors associated with domestic violence among the study subjects (N = 159)

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Table 3: Results of logistic regression done on the study variables (N = 159)

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   Discussion Top


Domestic violence, a problem that affects the lives of women both in the urban and in the rural areas, has been found to recur throughout the life cycle of women and has intensive repercussions.

In a large multi-site household survey, International Clinical Epidemiologists Network (INCLEN) [6] had found that about 44% women reported at least one psychologically abusive behavior and 40% reported experiencing at least one form of physical violence. Ramprez and Vazquez [7] found prevalence of domestic violence among urban population in India as 57%, whereas a community based study in South Africa [8] showed its lifetime prevalence to be 25%.

International Centre for Research on women (ICRW) [9] in partnership with INCLEN, in a study encompassing rural and urban slum and non-slum areas in 7 cities in India found the prevalence of psychological and physical violence to be 43.5% and 40.3%, respectively.

S Krishnan, in her study [3] in Bangalore slums, found the prevalence of lifetime and current domestic violence to be 56% and 27%, respectively; whereas in urban slum of Nagpur, [4] physicalviolence was found to be 66%. The present study observed prevalence of psychological and physical violence as 54% and 35.84%, respectively, in a slum population.

In a study conducted in Kerala [10] by K Saradamoni, the prevalence of lifetime physical and psychological violence was found to be 35.7% and 64.9% respectively, which was found to be 35.9% and 54.1% respectively, in the present study.

Among the socio-demographic variables examined, ICRW [9] found low levels of education to be associated with domestic violence with highest level of significance. Dowry harassment was found to be a major precipitating factor in the INCLEN study [6] and in Nagpur. [4] K Saradamoni [10] found that both forms of violence were inversely associated with education and employment levels of the women and their husbands, which was not observed in the present study. But socio-economic status, alcohol consumption of the husband, social support were found to be significantly associated with domestic violence in both the studies. Unlike the study by S Krishnan, [3] where he found that the prevalence of domestic violence was more in case of love marriages; the present study didn't find any association with love marriage and domestic violence.

This study found that the main factors behind domestic violence were alcohol addiction of the husband, followed by 'not cooking properly' and dowry related problem, unlike the study conducted by K Saradamoni. [10] The present study observed higher per capita income, presence of social support and property to be protective against domestic violence. Alcohol addiction and infidelity of the husband were found to be strongly related to the presence of domestic violence in this study.

More elaborate study with larger sample size could be done in the future, depicting difference of occurrence of domestic violence in both slum and non-slum population. Recall bias and conscious falsification cannot be fully ruled out as it was inherent in the study methodology.


   Conclusion Top


Overall prevalence of domestic violence was found to be 54%, of which 41.9% suffered from both current and lifetime physical and psychological violence. Hitting, beating and slapping were the commonest forms of physical violence, whereas insulting, threatening and withholding / delaying food were the commonest forms of psychological violence reported. In this study, it has been found that women with property, higher per capita income and social support were having lower rates of domestic violence, whereas alcohol addiction and multiple sex partner of the husband were the leading causes behind domestic violence. In this context, more social support for the women, community awareness about domestic violence and income generation for the women can be recommended.

The present study showed higher prevalence of domestic violence among slum population, compared to NFHS III observations in the general population. Therefore, this vulnerable women folk in slum areas need more attention.[11]

 
   References Top

1.Rennison Callie Marie Intimate Partner Violence, 1993-2001. Bureau of Justice Statistics, 01.02.2003. NCJ: 197838. Available from: http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/pub/pdf/ipvol.pdf [Last accessed on 2008 Dec 05].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, Government of India. Fact Sheet: National Family Health Survey (NFHS) III 2005-06.   Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.Rocca CH, Rathod S, Falle T, Rohini P, Pande RP, Krishnan S. Challenging assumptions about women empowerment: Social and economic resources and domestic violence among young married women in urban South India. Int J Epidemiol 2008;38:577-85.   Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.World SAFE pilot studies. Available from: http://www.inclen.org./research/ws.html [Last accessed on 2008 Dec 05].   Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.United Nations Development Fund for Women. With an End in Sight: Strategies from the UNIFEM Trust Fund to Eliminate Violence Against Women. New York: UNIFEM; 2000. Available from: http://www.unifem.org /attachments/gender-issues/violence-against-women /facts -figures-violence-against-women 2007.pdf [Last accessed on 2008 Dec 05].   Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.International Clinical Epidemiologists Network (INCLEN). Domestic Violence in India. A summery report of a multi-site household survey 2000. Available from: http://www.icrw.org/docs/DomesticViolence3.pdf [Last accessed on 2008 Dec 05].  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.Ramfrez J, Vazquez G, Violencia Y. Un hecho cotidiano. Salud Publica Mex 1993;35:148-60.  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.Martin S. Sexual Behaviors and Reproductive Health Outcomes: Associations with Wife-Abuse in South Africa. J Am Med Assoc 1992;282:1999.  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.Burton B, Duvvury N, Varia N. Domestic violence in India: A summary report of four records studies 2000. Available from: http://www.icrw.org/docs/DV2.pdf [Last accessed on 2008 Dec 05].  Back to cited text no. 9
    
10.Saradamoni K. Kerala Society and Politics: International Congress on Kerala Studies. Vol. 1. AKG Centre for Research Studies. 1994. Available from: http://www.cds.edu/download_files/344.pdf [Last accessed on 2008 Dec 05].  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.Lal S, Adarsh, Pankaj. Textbook of Community Medicine. 1 st ed. New Delhi: CBS publishers and Distributors Pvt Ltd.; 2007. p. 19.  Back to cited text no. 11
    


    Figures

  [Figure 1]
 
 
    Tables

  [Table 1], [Table 2], [Table 3]


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