Physical and Sexual Abuse of Wives in Urban Bangladesh: Husbands’ Reports

Study results suggest that intimate partner violence prevention programs targeting men should consider spousal abuse, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors as social and public health problems and should also consider the sociocultural context within which men who abuse their partners are embedded.
Bangladesh Slum
(c) Peter Lance, MEASURE Evaluation

Using data from 8,320 husbands’ self reports for the 2006 Urban Health Survey, MEASURE Evaluation researchers examine the prevalence of physical and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) perpetrated by husbands against their wives in Bangladesh and identify risk markers associated with such violence. Of the men included in the sample for this study, 55 percent reported perpetrating physical IPV against their wives at some point in their married lives, 23 percent reported perpetrating physical IPV in the past year, 20 percent reported ever perpetrating sexual IPV, and 60 percent reported ever perpetrating physical or sexual IPV.

Bivariate analyses revealed that men residing in slums had a greater likelihood than those residing in non-slum areas and in district municipalities of perpetrating lifetime and past-year physical IPV, and any lifetime (physical or sexual) IPV. Lifetime sexual IPV prevalence, by contrast, was highest in district municipalities (26 percent), followed by slum (20 percent) and nonslum (17 percent) areas. Net of other factors, low socioeconomic levels were associated with men’s increased likelihood of perpetrating IPV.

Alcohol and drug use, sexually transmitted disease infection, poor mental health, and holding attitudes supportive of wife beating were predictive of IPV perpetration. These results suggest that IPV-prevention programs targeting men should consider spousal abuse, substance use, and sexual risk behaviors as social and public health problems and should also consider the sociocultural context within which men who abuse their partners are embedded.

Sambisa W, Angeles G, Lance P, Naved R, and Curtis S. "Physical and Sexual Abuse of Wives in Urban Bangladesh: Husbands’ Reports" Studies in Family Planning, 2010, 41[3]: 165–178.

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