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Table of Contents
ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2022  |  Volume : 23  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 149-152

Prevalence and perceptions of gender-based violence amongst married women in India


1 First Aid Instructor in Aviation, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
2 Tutor, SGT University, Gurgaon, Haryana, India
3 Principal, AIIMS, Rishikesh, India

Date of Submission12-Apr-2021
Date of Decision13-Dec-2022
Date of Acceptance17-Dec-2022
Date of Web Publication04-Jan-2023

Correspondence Address:
Ms. Monica Banik
First Aid Instructor in Aviation, Gurgaon, Haryana
India
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/ijcn.ijcn_29_21

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  Abstract 

Violence against women is experienced by women of all ages and social classes, all races, religions and nationalities across the world. It is overwhelmingly perpetrated by men. It is the most pervasive violation of human rights in the world today. Its forms are both subtle and blatant and its impact on development is profound and it is so deeply embedded in cultures around the world that it is almost invisible. The aim of this study was to assess the prevalence of gender-based violence (GBV) amongst married women and their perceptions towards GBV. An online survey was conducted with a semi-structured questionnaire using non-probability snowball sampling technique that surveyed 50 married women through social networking platform. The prevalence of GBV amongst married women was found to be 38% (n = 19) where married women were physically, economically, psychologically and sexually abused in their marital life and due to the fear of society and family, maximum of 74% (n = 37) do not report their sufferings to anyone. The perception regarding GBV amongst married women is perceived to be high. A finding of the study gives an insight that the married women are physically, economically, psychologically and sexually abused in their marital life. There is a need to develop awareness programmes on GBV to sensitise people so that violence can be mitigated.

Keywords: Abuse, gender-based violence, perceptions, prevalence, women


How to cite this article:
Banik M, Singh R, Arora S. Prevalence and perceptions of gender-based violence amongst married women in India. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn 2022;23:149-52

How to cite this URL:
Banik M, Singh R, Arora S. Prevalence and perceptions of gender-based violence amongst married women in India. Indian J Cont Nsg Edn [serial online] 2022 [cited 2023 Feb 3];23:149-52. Available from: https://www.ijcne.org/text.asp?2022/23/2/149/367097


  Introduction Top


The term 'violence' derives from the Latin word vis, which means force and refers to the notions of constraint and using physical superiority on the other person. Violence is mutant, as it is influenced by different times, places, circumstances and realities. It takes multiple approaches, infiltrating foundations and associations and infringing on women's right to a noble life.[1],[2]

Violence against women can be distinguished as physical, sexual and psychological violence that occurs in the family, including battering, assault, sexual abuse of female children in the household, dowry-related violence, marital rape, female genital mutilation, degradation, verbal abuse, non-spousal violence and violence related to exploitation. On the other hand, physical, sexual and psychological violence that occurs within the general community, including rape, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and intimidation at work, trafficking of women and forced prostitution, some physical, sexual and psychological violence, some of which can even be seen condoned by the State depending on wherever it occurs.[1] India has reported a total of 4.05 lakh crimes against women registered by the National Crime Records Bureau during 2019, 1.26 lakh (over 30%) were that of domestic violence. The number of dowry deaths saw a jump from 48 in 2018 to 52 in 2019.[3],[4] Like most societies across the world, the Indian society has profoundly settled in man-centric standards and approaches.[5]

Extensive gender gaps exist in terms of education, health and nutrition and equality at workplace. There are several steps that are being taken by the Indian government to achieve gender equality. The National Health Financing Scheme and the National Sample Survey have provided a comprehensive detail with a focus on women's health, rights ranging from survival, mortality, marriage, fertility to work and domestic violence.[6]

Violence against women is a manifestation of the historically unequal power relations between men and women, which have led to domination over and discrimination against women by men and have prevented full advancement of women.[7]

In developing countries, violent practices against women are often recognised and defended as strands of the cultural weave. Wife beating, for example, is considered part of the natural order in many countries, a masculine prerogative celebrated in songs, proverbs and wedding ceremonies.[8] The right of a husband to beat or physically intimidate his wife is a deeply held conviction in many societies.[9] Even women often view a certain amount of physical abuse as justified under certain conditions. Justification for violence stems from gender norms-distorted views about the roles and responsibilities of men and women in relationships.[9]

The experience or threat of violence affects the lives of millions of women worldwide, in all socioeconomic and educational classes, cutting across boundaries of wealth, race, religion and culture thus impeding the right of women to participate fully in society.[10] Every form of violence threatens all women and limits their ability to make choices about their lives.

Violence against women both violates and impairs or nullifies the enjoyment by women of their human rights and fundamental freedoms. Physical violence is nearly always accompanied by psychological abuse, which can be just as demeaning and degrading.[11] Acts or threats of violence, whether occurring within the home or in the community, instill fear and insecurity in women and are obstacles to the achievement of equality and attainment of peace.[12] The fear of violence is a permanent constraint on the mobility of women and limits their access to resources and basic activities. Violence against women is one of the crucial social mechanisms by which women are forced into a subordinate position compared with men. Gender-based violence (GBV) is under-reported and has physical, social, sexual and psychological effects on married women thus researchers felt the need to conduct this study.


  Methods Top


A quantitative approach and a design-based on cross-sectional online survey were used to assess the prevalence and perceptions of married women regarding GBV. A snowball sampling technique was used. An online structured questionnaire was developed using Google forms. The link https://forms.gle/mvbdgisSqQguW4Tc9 of the questionnaire was sent through E-mails, WhatsApp and other social media to the contacts of the investigators. The participants were encouraged to participate in the survey and also to share the link with as many married women as possible.

A questionnaire was validated by five experts from nursing and psychology. Reliability was assessed using test–retest method on five women (r = 0.75).

The questionnaire elicited information about demographic profile of participants and statements related to GBV to assess the perceptions of women about GBV. Time taken to fill out the complete questionnaire was approximately 10 min. Perceptions were assessed in the five areas such as physical abuse, economical abuse, psychological abuse, sexual abuse and reporting of abuse. Each area had 4–6 questions. There were a total of 64 questions including demographic variables. Participants agreed or disagreed to the questions by responding 'yes or no'. Participants with access to the internet, age of 18 years and above, able to understand English and willing to give informed consent were included. The data collection was initiated on 13th February 2021 and closed on 21st March 2021. The forms were sent to almost about 250 women directly who were asked to further send it to their contacts. Totally 50 complete responses were received, so the rate of response was <25%. Frequency and percentage were used to represent the prevalence of abuse.

Ethical consideration

Online informed consent was sought from all the subjects and anonymity of participants and confidentiality of data were ensured. Institutional ethical clearance was obtained.


  Results Top


The mean age of the participants was 34.34 years, where a maximum of the married women was in the age group of between 35 and 40 years. Most of 44% (n = 22) married women were post-graduate. Most (52%, n = 26) of the participants were private employees and most of them 54% (n = 27) were working as a staff nurse. Almost 90% (n = 45) of the participants were living in urban area. A maximum of the participants spouse were graduate (46%, n = 23) and most of the spouses were working as private employees. Maximum of the married women (68%, n = 3 4) responded that they do not earn more than their spouse. Mostly 66% (n = 33) of the married women live in a nuclear family. The maximum number of participants, 54% (n = 27) agreed that their mother-in-law lives with them. The average monthly income of all the participants was around more than 3 lakhs rupees. Almost 64% (n = 32) of the participants mentioned that they have health issues. Around 74% (n = 37) of the participants have kids and about 8% (n = 4) of women had kids with congenital disorders. More than half of the participants (58%, n = 29) mentioned that their husband does not take alcohol. Most of the married women (94%, n = 47) mentioned that their husband is not addicted towards drugs such as marijuana and ganja, hashish.

[Table 1] depicts that abuse ranged from 12% of physical abuse to 38% of sexual abuse. Due to the fear of society and family maximum of them 74% (n = 37) did not report their suffering to anyone.
Table 1. Frequency and percentage distribution of the prevalence of gender-based violence amongst married women

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[Table 2] reveals that all the participants 100% (n = 50) have agreed that domestic violence/intimate partner violence (IPV) has serious consequences on the physical and mental health of a women and believe women should not tolerate the violence by her husband and mother-in-law to save her marriage. All the married women 100% (n = 50) participated in the study have agreed that the denial of providing medical facilities to a wife by her in-laws is an example of violence against women. Maximum 40% (n = 20) of married women opted to seek divorce if her husband is having an affair. Ninety-two percentage (n = 46) of them believed that woman has the right to refuse physical intimacy. Maximum 100% (n = 50) of married women have agreed that the early marriage contribute to IPV and GBV has a great psychological impact on the self-esteem of women. Eighty-two percentage (n = 41) of married women were willing to help and report if she finds out about abuse. Most of them 70% (n = 35) were aware about the helpline numbers and all of them 100% (n = 50) agreed that women must be educated and financially independent to protect herself from all kinds of abuse.
Table 2: Frequency and percentage distribution of perception of married women towards gender based violence

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  Discussion Top


In the present study, it was found that more than 12%–38% of the married women were physically, economically, psychologically and sexually abused in their marital life and is 74% (n = 37) did not report their suffering to anyone and it also reveals the perceptions regarding GBV amongst married women.

A similar study on intimate infrastructures, the rubrics of gendered safety and urban violence in Kerala have shown that while women lack access to adequate resources in urban settlements, they simultaneously face all forms of physical violence during access to and use of water, toilets, public transport, energy use and walkways.[13] A Cambodian study has also shown a high prevalence of GBV and depressive symptoms amongst this vulnerable population.[14] A similar study on lifetime prevalence correlates and health consequences of GBV in Somalia revealed 35.6% of women reported adult lifetime experiences of physical or sexual IPV and 16.5% reported adult lifetime experience of physical or sexual non-partner violence.[15]

An Indian study showed that the likelihood of all types of spousal violence against women was higher amongst consanguineous marriages compared to non-consanguineous unions in India. Women belonging to higher age groups, from Other Backward Castes, those who were working, and those with a low level of educational attainment and socioeconomic standing had a higher risk of experiencing IPV.[16]

A finding of the study gives an overview that the married women were physically, economically, psychologically and sexually abused in their marital life. However, majority did not report the violence. The reasons for not reporting need to be explored in detail. A study also concludes that all the participants have agreed that women should not tolerate the violence by her husband and mother-in-law to save her marriage. All the married women who participated in the study have agreed that the early marriage contributes to IPV and GBV has a great psychological impact on the self-esteem of women.


  Conclusion Top


Further research is needed to investigate the socio-cultural circumstances that may create obstacles to reporting abuse. Furthermore, a similar study can be planned to assess the knowledge regarding reporting of violence against women amongst married women or general population. Violence is not unique to conflict-affected areas and programmes to address and response to GBV should be brought forth in both conflict and non-conflict areas. Addressing GBV is important for improving the public health and human rights of the population and is critical for national development, including all over India and other humanitarian emergencies.

Limitations

The present study was limited to a small group of married women. Hence, studies should be conducted on large sample size with different variables on the different age groups of population, and a study may be conducted to assess the association between the prevalence and level of perception towards GBV.

Financial support and sponsorship

Nil.

Conflicts of interest

There are no conflicts of interest.



 
  References Top

1.
United Nations Population Fund. Violence Against Women in India; 2000. Available from: https://india.unfpa.org/sites/default/files/pub- pdf/435.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Mar 17].  Back to cited text no. 1
    
2.
Tiwari A, Singh SK, Manar MK, Mohan U, Panday K. Gender equity and equality in Indian healthcare. Gal Int J Health Sci Res 2020;5:26-34.  Back to cited text no. 2
    
3.
UNICEF. Gender Equality; 2021. Available from: https://www.unicef.org/gender-equality. [Last accessed on 2021 Mar 17].  Back to cited text no. 3
    
4.
Laisser RM, Nyström L, Lugina HI, Emmelin M. Community perceptions of intimate partner violence – A qualitative study from urban Tanzania. BMC Womens Health 2011;11:13.  Back to cited text no. 4
    
5.
Wikipedia. Violence Against Women in India; 2021. Available from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Violence_against_women_in_India. [Last accessed on 2021 Mar 17].  Back to cited text no. 5
    
6.
Nanda AR, Nanda B, Sharma OP. Women's health and rights in India: Issues and concerns. Indian J Public Adm 2015;69:697-713.  Back to cited text no. 6
    
7.
Centre for Enquiry into Health and Allied Themes; 2021. Available from: http://www.cehat.org/go/uploads/Hhr/whahc.pdf. [Last accessed on 2021 Mar 17].  Back to cited text no. 7
    
8.
United Nations Development Program; 2021. Available from https://www.undp.org/content/undp/en/hom. [Last accessed on 2021 Mar 17].  Back to cited text no. 8
    
9.
Ministry of Women & Child Development. National Policy for Women Empowerment; 2021. Available from: https://wcd.nic.in/womendevelopment/national-policy-women-empowerment. [Last accessed on 2021 Mar 17].  Back to cited text no. 9
    
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Zhang XD, Myers S, Yang HJ, Li Y, Li JH, Luo W, et al. Prevalence and correlates of sexual and gender-based violence against Chinese adolescent women who are involved in commercial sex: A cross-sectional study. BMJ Open 2016;6:e013409.  Back to cited text no. 10
    
11.
Decker MR, Latimore AD, Yasutake S, Haviland M, Ahmed S, Blum RW, et al. Gender-based violence against adolescent and young adult women in low- and middle-income countries. J Adolesc Health 2015;56:188-96.  Back to cited text no. 11
    
12.
Dunkle KL, Jewkes RK, Brown HC, Yoshihama M, Gray GE, McIntyre JA, et al. Prevalence and patterns of gender-based violence and revictimization among women attending antenatal clinics in Soweto, South Africa. Am J Epidemiol 2004;160:230-9.  Back to cited text no. 12
    
13.
Datta A, Ahmed N. Intimate infrastructures: The rubrics of gendered safety and urban violence in Kerala, India. Geoforum 2020;110:67-76.  Back to cited text no. 13
    
14.
Zhang XD, Myers S, Yang HJ, Li Y, Li JH, Luo W, et al. Prevalence and correlates of sexual and gender-based violence against Chinese adolescent women who are involved in commercial sex: A cross-sectional study. BMJ Open 2016;6:e013409.  Back to cited text no. 14
    
15.
Wirtz AL, Perrin NA, Desgroppes A, Phipps V, Abdi AA, Ross B, et al. Lifetime prevalence, correlates and health consequences of gender-based violence victimisation and perpetration among men and women in Somalia. BMJ Glob Health 2018;3:e000773.  Back to cited text no. 15
    
16.
Rahaman M, Sen S, Rana MJ, Ghosh S. Is consanguineous marriage related to spousal violence in India? Evidence from the National family health survey, 2015-16. J Biosoc Sci 2022;54:959-74.  Back to cited text no. 16
    



 
 
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