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Behind the silence of harmony: risk factors for physical and sexual violence among women in rural Indonesia.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
Umeå University, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Public Health and Clinical Medicine, Epidemiology and Global Health.
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2011 (English)In: BMC Women's Health, ISSN 1472-6874, E-ISSN 1472-6874, Vol. 11, 52- p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

BACKGROUND: Indonesia has the fourth largest population in the world. Few studies have identified the risk factors of Indonesian women for domestic violence. Such research will be useful for the development of prevention programs aiming at reducing domestic violence. Our study examines associations between physical and sexual violence among rural Javanese Indonesian women and sociodemographic factors, husband's psychosocial and behavioral characteristics and attitudes toward violence and gender roles.

METHODS: A cohort of pregnant women within the Demographic Surveillance Site (DSS) in Purworejo district, Central Java, Indonesia, was enrolled in a longitudinal study between 1996 and 1998. In the following year (1999), a cross-sectional domestic violence household survey was conducted with 765 consenting women from that cohort. Female field workers, trained using the WHO Multi-Country study instrument on domestic violence, conducted interviews. Crude and adjusted odds ratios at 95% CI were applied for analysis.

RESULTS: Lifetime exposure to sexual and physical violence was 22% and 11%. Sexual violence was associated with husbands' demographic characteristics (less than 35 years and educated less than 9 years) and women's economic independence. Exposure to physical violence among a small group of women (2-6%) was strongly associated with husbands' personal characteristics; being unfaithful, using alcohol, fighting with other men and having witnessed domestic violence as a child. The attitudes and norms expressed by the women confirm that unequal gender relationships are more common among women living in the highlands and being married to poorly educated men. Slightly more than half of the women (59%) considered it justifiable to refuse coercive sex. This attitude was also more common among financially independent women (71%), who also had a higher risk of exposure to sexual violence.

CONCLUSIONS: Women who did not support the right of women to refuse sex were more likely to experience physical violence, while those who justified hitting for some reasons were more likely to experience sexual violence. Our study suggests that Javanese women live in a high degree of gender-based subordination within marriage relationships, maintained and reinforced through physical and sexual violence. Our findings indicate that women's risk of physical and sexual violence is related to traditional gender norms.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2011. Vol. 11, 52- p.
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-82693DOI: 10.1186/1472-6874-11-52PubMedID: 22112243OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-82693DiVA: diva2:662267
Available from: 2013-11-06 Created: 2013-11-06 Last updated: 2017-12-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Domestic violence against women in rural Indonesia: searching for multilevel prevention
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Domestic violence against women in rural Indonesia: searching for multilevel prevention
2013 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Background: Domestic violence has been recognized globally as one of the most important Public Health concerns with severe negative health consequences for the exposed women. Through UN bodies several international milestones have successfully pushed attention towards worldwide improvements in the life situations of women. Since the ratification of the Convention on Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) in 1984, significant positive changes towards equality between men and women in Indonesia have been initiated, one being the enactment of the Domestic Violence Act in 2004. However, there is still a need to improve the knowledge about what preventive measures that are feasible and work in different settings. This thesis aims to contribute to a better understanding of appropriate prevention strategies against domestic violence in rural Indonesia by exploring: i) risk factors for domestic violence; ii) women’s ways of coping with exposure to violence; iii) men’s views on masculinity and violence within marriage; and iv) challenges faced by local service agency in managing services for women survivors of domestic violence.

Methods: Data from a cross sectional population based study was used to analyze risk factors for physical and sexual abuse among a cohort of pregnant women in Purworejo district. Further, a qualitative phenomenological interview study was conducted to reveal the dynamics of coping among women survivors of domestic violence in the same district. A Grounded Theory study based on focus group discussions with men formed the basis for a situational analysis of the linkage between masculinity and the use of violence within marriage. Finally, a qualitative case study was performed to explore the management practices of a local service agency in the district, to understand the challenges faced in their efforts to address domestic violence.

Results: Sexual violence was associated with husbands’ demographic characteristics (age and low educated) and women’s economic independence. Exposure to physical violence among women was strongly associated with husbands’ personal characteristics. The attitudes and norms expressed by women confirmed unequal gender relationships. Experiencing violence led women to using an elastic band coping strategy, moving between actively opposing the violence and surrendering or tolerating the situation. The national gender equality policies were shown to have played a crucial role in transforming gender power relations among men and women (the gender order) in the Indonesian society. Three different positions of masculinity were identified, the traditionalist, the egalitarian, and the progressive, with different beliefs about men’s role within marriage and with various levels of accepting the use of violence. Long term structural preventive efforts and individual interventions targeted to the conflicting couples were preferred over reporting the abuser to the authorities. The major challenges faced by the local service agency were the low priority given by the authorities, mirrored also in low involvement in the daily service by the assigned volunteers. The local agency also stammered in translating the current law and policies into a society that held on to traditional and religious norms regulating the relationships between men and women.

Conclusion: Overall, this thesis illustrates that sociocultural traditions and religious teaching still viscously influence people’s attitudes and beliefs about the use of violence within relationships. Domestic violence has not been accepted as a criminal act but is still to a large extent seen as a private family affair. Culturally sensitive programs aimed to bridging the gap between the current laws and policies and the socio-cultural traditions need to be further developed to protect women from domestic violence and increase gender equity in the Indonesian setting.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Umeå: Umeå universitet, 2013. 71 p.
Series
Umeå University medical dissertations, ISSN 0346-6612 ; 1617
Keyword
domestic violence, prevention, rural Java, Indonesia
National Category
Public Health, Global Health, Social Medicine and Epidemiology
Research subject
Public health
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-83181 (URN)978-91-7459-772-1 (ISBN)
Public defence
2013-12-06, Sal 135, By 9A, Allmänmedicin, Norrlands Universitetssjukhus, Umeå, 09:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2013-11-22 Created: 2013-11-20 Last updated: 2015-05-09Bibliographically approved

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