Prevalence and the Multitude of Risk Factors for Sexual Violence of Young Wives: Evidence from Rural Nepal
Mahesh Puri, Center for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities (CREHPA)
Melanie D. Frost, University of Southampton
Jyotsna Tamang, Center for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities, Kathmandu
Iqbal H. Shah, World Health Organization (WHO)
This paper examines the extent and determinants of sexual violence among young married women in rural Nepal. A cross-sectional survey was conducted among 1,296 married women aged 15-24 years in four major ethnic groups. About 46% of the women surveyed reported experiencing sexual violence since marriage. Several individual and household-level factors including increased women’s autonomy were protective against sexual violence. Surprisingly, women’s higher level of education was not a protecting factor. However, educational level of husbands both at the individual and community level was highly protective. Overall, the community factors were less important than individual or family factors in explaining the risk of young women experiencing sexual violence by husbands. The high prevalence of sexual violence against women found in this study is a matter for serious concern and underscores the need for an integrated and comprehensive response at many levels.