Prevalence and factors associated with violence against women in Pakistan

Document Type



Community Health Sciences


Background: Violence against women is multifaceted, and multidimensional global phenomenon; but highly endemic in Pakistan. Gender roles and socio-economic factors put women in subordinate status that makes them prone to all kinds of violence. Violence influences personality, lifestyle, and health; particularly reproductive practices. The current paper aimed to assess the prevalence and factors associated with violence against women in Pakistan.
Methods: Secondary data analysis of the Pakistan Demographic and Health Survey (PDHS) 2012-13 was done. A total of n= 2941 married women between the ages of 15-49 were included; of these 841 were asked about violence. The variables included socio-demographic characteristics, violence, and its typology, fertility and contraceptive use. Data were analyzed using SPSS version 19. Descriptive statistics were run to describe the population socio-demographic characteristics and violence. Binary logistic regression and multivariate model were used to assess the possible association of violence with socio-economic characteristics.
Results: Of the 2941 ever-married women of the reproductive age group (15-49 years) from Sindh included in the analysis, 58.35% were illiterate, 30.09% were employed workers, 28.24% were current contraceptive users and 34.70% ever terminated pregnancy. Of those who were asked about violence (n=841), 38.34% reported experiencing any type of violence, however, 58.90% neither sought help nor informed anyone. On Univariate analysis violence was found to be associated with: women's illiteracy (OR 3.0, 1.7-5.3), poverty (OR 3.0, 2.0-4.7) non-working status (OR 1.8, 1.3-2.5), lack of house ownership (OR 1.7, 1.1-3.0), Husbands' characteristics that were found to be associated with violence against women were illiteracy (OR 2.5, 1.6-4.0) and skilled manual occupation (OR 2.2, 1.1-4.2). Three factors that remained associated with violence on multivariate analysis were; women's non-working status (OR 1.8, 1.3-2.5) and high parity (OR 1.7, 1.2-2.4) and husbands' education (OR 1.8, 1.1-2.5).
Conclusion: Violence against women is prevalent in Pakistan; most victims are not reporting or seeking help. Victims of violence are uneducated, unemployed, high parity women who were non-contraceptive users and whose husbands were illiterate. To decrease the magnitude and intensity of violence against women, short and long term promotive to rehabilitative actions are required ranging from establishment of shelters to provide relief to violence victims to structural reforms for improving the status of women to control and prevent violence.


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Publication (Name of Journal)

Journal of Women's Health and Gynecology