The hidden figure: sexual intimate partner violence among Pakistani women

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: The objectives of the present study were to determine the magnitude and factors associated with sexual intimate partner violence (SIPV) in women presenting to tertiary-care hospitals of Karachi, Pakistan. Methods: Five hundred women who presented to four tertiary-care hospitals to deliver were interviewed from September to December 2005. SIPV was assessed by using questions on sexual abuse in WHO Domestic Violence Module designed to determine intimate partner violence. Multiple logistic regression analysis was applied to determine factors associated with SIPV. Results: Twenty-one percent of women reported experiencing sexual violence in their married life. Gravida with five or more pregnancies [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 2.78, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.12-6.96], index pregnancy as unwanted (AOR = 2.64, CI 1.16-6.02) and conflict with in-laws (AOR 1.9 CI 1.14-3.16) were independently associated with sexual abuse. Women who had social support were less likely to be abused by their intimate partners (AOR 0.76, CI 0.58-0.98). Conclusion: One in five women reported spousal sexual abuse in their married life. Women having more than five children, unwanted pregnancies or reporting differences with in-laws are more likely to be subjected to such abuse. Social support protects women from sexual abuse by intimate partner.


European Journal of Public Health