Determinants of sexual violence against married women

Ramesh Adhikari, Mahendra Ratna Campus, Tribhuvan University
Jyotsna Tamang, Center for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities, Kathmandu

Background: Sexual coercion is an important public health issue because of its negative association with the social and health outcomes. Married women living in every country, irrespective of its development status, have been facing sexual coercion. The study aims to determine the prevalence and the factors influencing sexual coercion among married women in Nepal. Methods: The data used in this paper is from a cross-sectional survey on “Domestic violence in Nepal” carried out in 2009. A total of 1,536 married women were interviewed. Association between sexual coercion and the explanatory variables was assessed in bivariate analysis using Chi-square tests. Then, logistic regression was used to assess the net effect of several independent variables on sexual coercion. Results: Overall, about three in five women had experienced sexual violence from their husband in their entire lifetime. Logistic regression analysis found that literacy status of women, decision making power for own health, husband-wife age differences, and alcohol consumption by husband were significant predictors. Literate women were less likely (OR=0.72) to experience sexual violence than illiterate. On the other hand, women whose mother/father-in-law decide about their health, whose husbands is elder (6 years or above) than their wives, whose husband consumed alcohol, were more likely to report sexual violence than their counterparts. Conclusion: The study shows that sexual violence among married women is widespread in Nepal. No single factor accounted for the high prevalence of sexual violence; many factors contributed in this regard. Programs should focus on all these identified issues to reduce sexual coercion so that the overall well-being of the family is maintained and enhanced.

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Presented in Poster Session 2