Factors associated with intimate partner violence among pregnant rural women in Rwanda.Rural Remote Health. 2009 Jul-Sep; 9(3):1153.RR
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is a major public health problem in Africa and internationally, with consequences that include physical injury, significant morbidity and even death. The Rwandan 2005 Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) reported a national prevalence of IPV among pregnant women of 10.2% but there were limited data available on the factors involved. The aim of this study was to determine the factors associated with and prevalence of IPV among pregnant Rwandese women in the rural southern province of Kabutare.
A total of 387 pregnant women attending antenatal clinics in the South Province of Rwanda answered a questionnaire which included items on demographics and IPV. Mean age and prevalence of IPV in the previous 12 months as well as lifetime IPV were assessed. Both univariate and multivariate odds of IPV exposure were estimated using logistic regression analysis.
The mean age of the 387 participants was 29.4 years (SD 6.3 years). More than one in two participants reported lifetime verbal abuse (53.7%). Other forms of lifetime IPV included pulling hair (9.4%), slapping (18.2%), choking (6.5%), punching with fists (19.3%), throwing to the ground and kicking with feet (12.8%), and burning with a hot liquid (3.1%). In the multivariate analysis, alcohol use by male partner was positively associated with lifetime IPV (OR = 2.52; 95% CI [1.35, 4.71] for occasional drinkers, and OR = 3.85; 95% CI [1.81, 8.21] for heavy drinkers). Compared with subjects with no formal education, women who had elementary education were less likely to report lifetime IPV (OR = 0.30; 95% CI [0.11, 0.78]).
Alcohol use by male partner and low education of women were positively associated with lifetime IPV. The high rates of IPV among Rwandan pregnant women indicate the need for urgent measures to prevent and curb domestic violence using public health education, an awareness campaign and policy advocacy.