Young married women living in the slums of Pune are most vulnerable to domestic violence during the initial three months of their marriage, a recent joint study, undertaken by a team of researchers at the National AIDS Research Institute (NARI) and others, has revealed.
The reasons behind the violence range from low educational qualification of the spouse to alcoholism and unhappiness with the dowry amount, stated the study.
A team of researchers from the Department of Social and Behavioural Research, NARI, along with other Indian scientists working at various US-based universities, jointly studied instances of domestic violence among 100 young women, married for 18 months or less, in the city slums, with an objective to understand possible reasons for this trend. The study was aimed at devising mechanisms to minimise domestic violence among the economically weaker sections of society.
“Our observations, after interactions with these 100 married women, indicate that low educational attainment by spouse, low family satisfaction with dowry and poor ability to negotiate conflicts are key reasons for the prevalence of domestic violence faced by young married women living in the slums of Pune,” stated the researchers. “Sadly, the initial three months saw the highest instances of violence at the hands of their spouses…,” noted the research.
As much as 22 per cent of Pune’s population lives in slums. Most of the women who participated in this study were the first ones from their families to have migrated to a large city like Pune.
While the trend of domestic violence has decreased nationally, at least one among three women gets abused by her spouse during their lifetime, said the researchers. Notably, abuses faced by women post-marriage at the hands of spouse, mother-in-law or other members of the husband’s family have not been studied in-depth, they said.
In many cases, the husbands were found to have the same educational qualification as the women, with most of them only completing class X. “However, they were mostly employed and earned more than Rs 10,000 a month. Some of them, who were addicted to alcohol or were involved in gambling, were found to be more prone to inflicting domestic violence,” the study noted.
The women surveyed in the study said they preferred to share their bitter experiences either with a friend or a relative, but “the rate of sharing their stories, too, was very low”.
As part of measures to be adopted to minimise this experience by women, the research team suggested educating both girls and boys and training them to have conflict negotiating skills.