Journal of global health 7(2) 020406 doi 10.7189/jogh.07.020406
Intimate partner physical violence increases women’s risk for negative health outcomes and is an important public health concern. The purpose of the present study was to determine 1) the proportion of girls (≤18 years) and women (>18 years) who experienced physical violence by a sexual partner, and 2) factors (including self-reported HIV infection) associated with girls and women who experienced physical violence by a sexual partner.
Cross-sectional surveys conducted in the Gem Health and Demographic Surveillance System (HDSS) area in Siaya County, western Kenya in 2011-2012 (Round 1) and 2013-2014 (Round 2).
Among 8003 unique participants (582 girls and 7421 women), 11.6% reported physical violence by a sexual partner in the last 12 months (girls: 8.4%, women: 11.8%). Three factors were associated with physical violence by a sexual partner among girls: being married or cohabiting (nearly 5-fold higher risk), low education, and reporting forced sex in the last 12 months (both with an approximate 2-fold higher risk). Predictive factors were similar for women, with the addition of partner alcohol/drug use and deliberately terminating a pregnancy. Self-reported HIV status was not associated with recent physical violence by a sexual partner among girls or women.
Gender-based physical violence is prevalent in this rural setting and has a strong relationship with marital status, low education level, and forced sex among girls and women. Concerted efforts to prevent child marriage and retain girls in school as well as implementation of school and community-based anti-violence programs may help mitigate this risk.