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APHA Scientific Session and Event Listing

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Examining domestic violence in Mumbai : Causes, barriers to reporting and mitigation

Sreeparna Chattopadhyay, Anthropology and Population Studies, Brown University, Box 1921, 128 Hope Street, Providence, RI 02912, 781-354-6953, sreeparna@brown.edu

The purpose of this study was to investigate women's vulnerability to domestic violence in a slum community in northeastern Mumbai using a structural perspective. Data was collected during a yearlong fieldwork (2005) during which 52 women and their families, 20 men, members of the criminal justice system, NGO workers, medical personnel, social workers and community leaders were interviewed. Ethnographic techniques were employed to identify the determinants of domestic violence and reasons why women may not report violence or seek help from community networks and family members. Results indicate that women's definition of what constitutes violence varies depending on age, economic status, social position within the community, and place of origin, education, employment status and husband's alcohol consumption. Women may not seek or receive help from their families because of economic fragility, past violence in the natal household and stigma associated with separation from husband. Community support is predicated on factors such as house ownership, caste, religious and linguistic affiliations and micropolitics within the community networks. Institutional barriers include negative attitudes of the police, lawyers, judges, doctors and social workers. This study may potentially advance theoretical, methodological and policy understandings of domestic violence as a human rights issue. Theoretically it permits analysis of domestic violence with reference to structural inequities like poverty and retrenchment of labor, displacement and routinization of violence; methodologically it allows a more nuanced measurement of autonomy and programmatically it will help establish best practices for maximizing women's access to and utilization of violence-reduction and mitigation services.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Domestic Violence, Community Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Community and Clinic: Cultural and Institutional Influences on Gender-Based Violence

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA