“Half of those questioned said that violence affected their overall well-being”
“Domestic violence by marital partner continues to be the most common form of violence against women. Its acceptance and frequent justification poses challenge to the empowerment of women,’’ notes a new pilot study titled “Domestic violence against nurses by their marital partners” covering nurses at the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) here.
The study, authored by Kamlesh Kumari Sharma and Manju Vatsa of the AIIMS College of Nursing and published in the Indian Journal of Community Medicine, states that physical and sexual violence affects the nurses’ physical and mental health and leads to an inability to concentrate, loss of confidence in their ability and inability to work.
“Over half of the study subjects (56.7 per cent) reported that physical or sexual violence affected their overall well-being. Being slapped was the most common act of physical violence (40 per cent), 18.86 per cent nurses were physically abused while pregnant. Worse, 45.8 per cent of the physically abused victims were kicked/beaten when pregnant,’’ noted the study.
Higher violence was reported if husband had lower educational status or indulged in drinking. “The prevalence of violence decreased with increased number of rooms in the house and increase of education of the couple. Increased rooms probably meant more personal space and privacy and hence better understanding. Higher socio-economic status was also reported to have protective effect against domestic violence in a nation-wide study in India,” revealed the study.
In India, statistical evidence on the prevalence of domestic violence against nurses, its characteristics, impact, and their perceptions regarding acceptable behaviour for men and women are non-existent.
“To understand the issues related to domestic violence among nurses the present study was planned. Domestic violence is a sensitive and intimate issue.
The study subjects were selected from four departments at the Institute – main hospital, private wards (new and main hospital), Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar Institute Rotary Cancer Hospital and Dr. Rajendra Prasad Centre for Ophthalmic Sciences. Here nurses work in three shifts. Nursing is one of the most women-centred professions and is impacted by violence on several fronts. There are high levels of role conflict with the domestic role and significant level of occupational stress,” note the authors in their published work.
The study also points out that wife-beating was believed to be justified under certain circumstances by 42 per cent of the respondents, while 10-20 per cent women said that they did not have the right to refuse sex.
These findings were found to be similar to a World Health Organisation’s multi-country study (2005) findings.
“The perceived impact of violence in the form of health and other effects like sickness/absenteeism was very high and suggested a need for intervention at the workplace,’’ concludes the study.
Keywords: domestic violence