ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

K G SanthyaSubscribe to K G Santhya

Determinants of Marital Violence

Substantial proportions of married women in India report experiencing physical and sexual violence within their households. Most studies examining the risk and protective factors of marital violence have used crosssectional data to understand the determinants of physical and sexual marital violence. To identify determinants of recent experiences of physical and sexual marital violence, this survey collected data from 4,880 rural women of four states - Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu, Jharkhand and Bihar - drawn from the National Family Health Survey-2 conducted in 1998-99 and a follow-up study for a subgroup of women carried out in 2002-03. The findings underscore the need to support programmes that aim to increase the education level of women and girls, make parents aware of the effects parental violence has on their children's well-being and improve married women's financial autonomy by increasing their financial literacy and awareness regarding various savings and asset-building options. Further, programmes and laws targeting dowry exchange and alcohol consumption need to be simultaneously developed.

Early Marriage and HIV/AIDS

Available programmatic sexual and reproductive health initiatives have focused disproportionately on the unmarried and on premarital sexual activity. Married young people have received little attention as a vulnerable group with distinct needs because marriage is assumed to be safe and because married adolescents and young people are assumed to face none of the stigma that their unmarried counterparts experience in accessing sexual and reproductive health services. Emerging evidence highlights that neither of these assumptions are tenable. Within the sub-population of young people, married young women constitute a group with distinct risks of human immunodeficiency virus and face a host of obstacles in making informed sexual and reproductive health decisions.

Sexual and Reproductive Health Needs of Married Adolescent Girls

This paper collates available evidence on the situation of married adolescent girls and also sheds light on ways their sexual and reproductive health situation and choices differ from adult women. Findings strongly argue for measures that delay marriage and recognise the special vulnerabilities of married adolescent females. There is a need to raise awareness among girls, parents, teachers and community leaders, but more importantly, there is also a need to hold the government accountable for enforcing the legal age of marriage for girls. Further programmes to enhance married girls' autonomy within their marital homes and those that encourage education and generate livelihood opportunities need to be simultaneously developed.
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