Domestic violence among women in slums: scope for public health intervention
Keywords:Domestic violence, Gender-based violence, Intimate partner violence and health, Public health, Slums
Background: Domestic violence is a major human rights violation and public health crisis. Slums offer scope to understand violence as intertwined with specific material and social configurations. The present study aimed to explore the experiences of domestic violence among women and the scope for public health intervention in the context of the realities of a slum.
Methods: Qualitative data were collected through narrative interviews of 30 married women residing in a slum in the Indian city of Kolkata using an unstructured interview schedule.
Results: A thematic analysis revealed that all the women faced both physical and sexual violence in their day-to-day lives. The trajectories of the violence could be traced through their early marriage, lack of financial autonomy, and absence of control over their bodies. Women reported pain and physical injuries, as well as gynecological health problems due to routine violence. It also took an adverse toll on their mental health. There was a dearth of effective community-based help-seeking resources.
Conclusions: The study concludes that there is a need for moving beyond solely a justice system approach to more integrative models of promoting health in addressing the issue of domestic violence.
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