Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence

Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence

To illustrate the prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV), a number of studies conducted in different parts of the world have been reviewed. Prevalence is estimated as the proportion of women who reported abuse in a given study population. First, study which properly indicated the prevalence of spousal abuse in America was a national survey conducted in 1975. After analyzing the findings of study, authors concluded that "marriage license is a hitting license". Rates of wife abuse found to be much higher than husband abuse. (Straus, 1977; Straus, 1978) In 1985, the survey was repeated by collecting data through telephone. No significant differences were observed when the findings were compared with previous results

The same data was re-analyzed to estimate the presence of physical violence in intact couples only. The one year incidence of physical aggression was indicated in 16% of all married couples and 28% reported presence of physical violence at some point in their marital lives. (Straus, Gelles & Steinmetz 1980; Straus & Gelles, 1990) Schwartz (1987) reanalyzed the National Crime Survey (NCS) data from 1973-1980 with addition of 1980-1982 data and found that 96% of women were assaulted by their husbands. Stark and Flitcraft (1988) suggested that battering is the single most common source of serious injury to women, being responsible for more injuries than road accidents, muggings and rape combined

Recent studies also confirm that violence by intimate partner is the greatest single cause of injury to women in the U.S., more than by accidents, rapes and muggings combined. A United Nations (UN) (2000) study showed that in U.S. a woman is battered by her husband or cohabiting partner in every 15 seconds

In the year 2001, more than half a million American women reported some degree of abuse by intimate partners although it was not associated with any fatal consequences. (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2003) UN Special Rapporteur on violence against women (2003) reported that 85% of the domestic violence victims are women. Intimate Partner Violence was also estimated in different ethnic groups and it was indicated that Black women had 22 % greater chance of facing family violence which was increased up to 35% when compared with white women

According to US Department of Justice (2000) more than 30% of murdered women were killed by their partners. (US Department of Justice, 2000) The Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS) tracks health conditions and risk behaviors of people in the United States through an ongoing telephonic survey

In 2005 and 2006, the Virginia BRFSS survey included questions on Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Analysis of responses revealed that the lifetime prevalence of (threatened, attempted, or actual physical or sexual violence) by intimate partners was 17.4%. 15% of adults reported being actually hit, slapped, pushed, or kicked by an intimate partner. Coercive sex was reported by 5.5% of adults

The overall lifetime prevalence of all types of abuse was higher among women (9.6%) almost eight times than men (1.2%). 8% of adults reported that their partners did commit physical or sexually abusive act against them in the last 12 months time. 40.6% of these adults reported (scratches, bruises, black eyes, vaginal or anal injury, or broken bones) as a result of the physical or sexual violence. (Division of Injury and Violence Prevention Virginia Department of Health, 2007)

In Canada, the data of General Society Survey (GSS) and Canadian Urban Victimization Survey (CUVS) were reviewed by Johson (1989) which showed that 80-90% of women were victims of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). Smith (1990) demonstrated that physical, psychological and sexual violence committed against intimate partner particularly against wives are not considered as intolerable in Canada

The Russian non-governmental organizations statistics indicated that in Russia, 36,000 women face physical maltreatment by intimate partners in their daily lives.(World Organization against Torture, 2003)

Other studies have also shown that spousal violence is prevalent in many other countries such as Australia (Mugford & Mugford, 1989), Singapore (Choi & Edleson, 1996), and in Middle East countries. (Haj-Yahia, 1996, 1998). A Turkish study reported the incidence of domestic physical violence to be 41.4 %, emotional violence 25.9 %, sexual violence 8.6 %, and controlling behavior 77.6 %. Physical violence experienced at any time in their life was 50.9 %. (Mayda, Akkus & Düzce, 2004)

A study conducted in rural areas of central India demonstrated that most of the women face both physical and psychological abuse in their marital relation. Insulting and humiliating behaviors towards wives is a norm as reported by 38% of the women. 50 % reported physical violence

The most common acts include slapping on face, hitting with any hard object and kicking. 44% were reported they were kicked even during pregnancy. 12% were threatened by their husbands to be burned with fire. 30% of the physically battered women got severe injuries which required medical treatment. (Jain et al 2004)

The prevalence of intimate partner violence across different countries around the world can be estimated by recent reports issued by World Health Organization (WHO) and UNICEF. This data outline the severity and extent of the problem and its pattern across different societies and countries of the world. According to WHO (2003), worldwide 10% and 69% of women suffer physical abuse by their male intimate partners at some point in their relation. Up to 70% of female murder victims were killed by their male partners

In Nigeria 31% of all women have been victims of physical assault by an intimate male partner. In Ethiopia, 45% of women who were currently in relationship reported physical attack by their husbands/partners. In South Africa, a national study showed that 13% of women experienced physical violence in their relationship. In Bolivia 17% of all women who were engaged in some form of intimate relation with male person reported physical violence

In Nicaragua, the life time prevalence of physical abuse by intimate partner was 28%. In Paraguay a survey conducted in 1995-1996 showed that 10% of women aged between 15 and 49 years reported physical assault at least once

A survey of women from middle and low-income background in the capital city of Peru, showed that 31% of married women reported physical assault. In Uruguay 10% of women who were currently living with their intimate partners reported physical or sexual violence in the past year. In Moldova, 14% of women reported experience of physical abuse at some point in their relation

In Netherlands, 21% of all women reported that they faced physical violence and 11% reported history of severe physical abuse. In Norway, 18% of women who are or have been in a relationship reported a physical abuse by male partners. In Turkey, a survey conducted in east and south-east Anatolia being hit or kicked by husbands was reported by 58% of women

According to UNICEF (2000) report in Kenya 612 women were interviewed and 42% reported Intimate Partner Violence (IPV). In Uganda, 41% of women reported being beaten or physically harmed by their partners. In Zimbabwe, 966 women were approached in a survey and found that 32% of women had experienced physical abuse by any of their male family member since adolescence. In Egypt, 35% of women reported physical abuse by their husband at some point in their marriage. In a survey of 1,826 Arab women conducted in 1997, 32% reported at least one incident of physical assault by their male partner and 30% reported forced sex by their husbands

In Canada, 29% of women reported being physically abused by a current or former partner since their adolescence. In Chile, 26% of women reported they tolerated abusive behaviors of their intimate partners at least once and 11% reported occurrence of one episode of serious violence. In Colombia, 19% of women had experienced physical abuse from their partners in their lifetime. In Nicaragua, 52% of women tolerated a physically violent episode at least once; 27% reported physical abuse in the previous year. In Cambodia, 16% of women reported physical abuse by a spouse and 8% reported being injured because of abuse

A survey conducted in India asked husbands about their attitudes and behaviors towards their wives. 45% of married men admitted that they physically abused their wives. Similarly, in a survey conducted in Thailand 20% of husbands accepted that they physically abused their wives at least once in their marriage. In a survey of 796 Japanese women, 59% reported being slapped or hit by their partners. In Korea, 38% of wives reported abuse by their husbands. In a survey conducted in New Zealand, 20% of women reported being physically abused by a male intimate partner

In Korea, 38% of wives reported abuse by their husbands. In a survey conducted in New Zealand, 20% of women reported being physically abused by a male intimate partner. In Poland, a survey of divorced women was conducted and found that 60% of had experienced physical violence their ex-husbands at least once and 25% reported repeated episodes of physical violence. In United Kingdom, 25% of women had been punched or slapped by a partner or ex-partner in their lifetime

In Pakistan, spousal violence is equally prevalent as indicated by few recent surveys. A Government study in Punjab showed that 85% of women face violence from their male family members and in 32% of the cases it was committed by their husbands. 42% of women accepted violence as part of their lives, 33% felt they can't raise their voice against it; 19% verbally disapproved it and only 4% actually took action against it. (Amnesty International, 2002) Some small scale cross-sectional studies conducted in different cities provides some estimates regarding prevalence of wife abuse in Pakistan. A cross-sectional study conducted by Ali, (2003) in twin cities of Pakistan - Islamabad and Rawalpindi revealed that 97% of women were facing verbal and physical violence during and before pregnancy

This study also assessed women's response to the problem and found that 51.7% reported that they did not respond in any way and merely suffered the violence

Another cross-sectional study assessed incidence of physical, verbal and sexual abuse by interviewing 300 women in the postnatal wards of a large public tertiary hospital in Karachi. Verbal abuse and threats were very common. 80% of women reported verbal abuse in their marital life whereas frequency of such events somewhat lowered to 66% during pregnancy

Nearly all women who reported physical abuse during pregnancy also experienced it when they were not pregnant. Among the 132 ever physically or verbally abused women, 36% also suffered sexual abuse. (AKUH, 2000) Ali & Gavino (2007) interviewed 400 married women aged 15-45 years to assess prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) among women living in low socioeconomic urban areas of Karachi, Pakistan. Analysis of findings revealed that verbal abuse was reported by 97% and physical abuse was reported by 80% of women

Financial issues were the commonest reason for domestic violence followed by infertility or giving birth to a baby-girl

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