Experience of intimate partner violence among young pregnant women in urban slums of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: a qualitative study

Type Journal Article - BMC women's health
Title Experience of intimate partner violence among young pregnant women in urban slums of Kathmandu Valley, Nepal: a qualitative study
Volume 16
Issue 1
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2016
URL http://bmcwomenshealth.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s12905-016-0293-7
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is an urgent public health priority. It is a neglected issue in women’s health, especially in urban slums in Nepal and globally. This study was designed to better understand the IPV experienced by young pregnant women in urban slums of the Kathmandu Valley, as well as to identify their coping strategies, care and support seeking behaviours. Womens’ views on ways to prevent IPV were also addressed.

20 young pregnant women from 13 urban slums in the Kathmandu valley were recruited purposively for this qualitative study, based on pre-defined criteria. In-depth interviews were conducted and transcribed, with qualitative content analysis used to analyse the transcripts.

14 respondents were survivors of violence in urban slums. Their intimate partner(s) committed most of the violent acts. These young pregnant women were more likely to experience different forms of violence (psychological, physical and sexual) if they refused to have sex, gave birth to a girl, or if their husband had alcohol use disorder. The identification of foetal gender also increased the experience of physical violence at the prenatal stage. Interference from in-laws prevented further escalation of physical abuse. The most common coping strategy adopted to avoid violence among these women was to tolerate and accept the husbands’ abuse because of economic dependence. Violence survivors sought informal support from their close family members. Women suggested multiple short and long term actions to reduce intimate partner violence such as female education, economic independence of young women, banning identification of foetal gender during pregnancy and establishing separate institutions within their community to handle violence against young pregnant women.

Diversity in the design and implementation of culturally and socially acceptable interventions might be effective in addressing violence against young pregnant women in humanitarian settings such as urban slums. These include, but are not limited to, treatment of alcohol use disorder, raising men’s awareness about pregnancy, addressing young women’s economic vulnerability, emphasising the role of health care professionals in preventing adverse consequences resulting from gender selection technologies and working with family members of violence survivors.

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