Does violence against women affect their reproductive health? Evidences from India

Vijaya Kumari, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Vijaylakshmi Singh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Saurabh Singh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)
Shrikant Singh, International Institute for Population Sciences (IIPS)

Violence is a growing public health concern and can be conceptualized as an issue of power and social control over women, forming the background for understanding its various manifestations as continuum from sexual harassment to homicide while reproductive health status is not only a major component of women's overall health but also signifies the individual and societal well being. Ironically the situation of violence against women and their reproductive health is at stake especially in most of the developing countries including India. In this backdrop, the present paper attempts to study the patterns and correlates of violence and symptomatic prevalence of reproductive health problems as well as possible relationships between them at national level. The data used for this paper is obtained from NFHS-2 (conducted in 1998-99 covering 99 percent of population in all 26 states of India) utilizing 84682 currently married women aged 15-49 for bivariate and multivariate analysis to predict the likelihood of facing violence and the symptomatic prevalence of reproductive health problems after controlling for the effect of different socio-economic and demographic characteristics of women. The primary finding reveals that little over one-fifth of currently married women in India have experienced violence since age 15 and more than half of them have been beaten or mistreated in the last 12 months preceding the survey. In majority of cases the incidence of violence was perpetuated by their husband while nearly three-fifths of the women in India justify incidence of beating by their husband for some or the other reason. About half of the women in India suffer from at least one reproductive health problem while abut one third of them suffer from reproductive tract infections (RTI) and sexually transmitted infections (STI). The analysis explores that women who experienced violence are more than twice likely to suffer from reproductive health problems than their counterparts.

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Presented in Session 56: Socio-Cultural Context of Reproductive Health (1)

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