Violence against women: A comparative study of the pattern and experience before and during pregnancy among antenatal clinic attendees
Background: Violence against women is increasing globally; however, its prevention and evaluation in pregnancy has not receiving adequate attention.
Aim: To evaluate the occurrence and pattern of violence against women before and during index pregnancy.
Methods: A prospective, comparative study comprising 200 antenatal clinic attendees categorized into two groups of 100 each was conducted. Group I consisted of women who had suffered violence previously while those in group II did not have such experience. Participants were recruited at the antenatal clinic and informed consent was obtained. Participants were screened using a modified version of Abuse Assessment Screen from Centre for Disease Control; the data was analyzed using SPSS version 20.0 and p<0.05 was significant.
Result. There was similarity in the age (p0.688), marital status (p0.605), level of education (p0.914) and gestational age at booking (p0.490) among the two groups. Alcohol consumption was significantly higher (21 vs. 10; p0.045) among partners of victims of violence (group I). Physical violence decreased from 47% before to 22% during index pregnancy, sexual violence reduced from 53% vs. 50% while all cases of psychological violence (68%) occurred during pregnancy. The partner was responsible for 78.7% of physical and 84.7% of sexual violence before pregnancy as well as 91.0% of physical, 100.0% of sexual and 78.0% of psychological violence during index pregnancy.
Conclusion: Violence against women is heightened during pregnancy especially psychological violence. Routine screening for violence during pregnancy is justified because its prevalence is higher than other conditions routinely screened for in pregnancy.
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