236323 Violence against women in Latin America and the Caribbean: Comparative findings from recent population-based surveys

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Mary Goodwin, MA, MPA , Division of Reproductive Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Alessandra Guedes, MPH , Area of Sustainable Development and Environmental Health (SDE), Pan American Health Organization, Washington, DC
Sarah Bott , Consultant, Los Angeles, CA
Jennifer Mendoza, MS , Department of Sociology, Ohio State University, Lewis Center, OH
Objective: To summarize findings on violence against women from 12 recent, national, population-based Reproductive and Demographic Health Surveys from 12 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. Methods: Nationally representative data on the reproductive health of women aged 15-49 were gathered in population-based surveys from 2004 to 2010. Women provided information on key aspects of reproductive health: fertility, contraceptive use, nuptiality, use of preventive health services, and behavioral risk factors. They were also asked about their experience with intimate partner violence (IPV), exposure to violence during childhood, sexual violence, and gender attitudes. Results: Lifetime experience of physical IPV ranged from 13% in Haiti (2005) to 52% in Bolivia (2008); lifetime sexual IPV ranged from 5% in Dominican Republic to 15% in Bolivia. Over 60% of women who had experienced IPV also reported high levels of controlling behavior by an intimate partner. Between 27 and 52% of women reporting recent IPV told no one about the violence, while approximately 30% sought help from an institution. Between 6 and 13% of women reported forced intercourse in their lifetime, with up to one third of first experiences occurring before age 15. Strong associations were found between adult experiences of physical/sexual violence and childhood exposure to violence. Conclusions: Violence against women remains a major public health problem in the region despite progress in the areas of public awareness, legal response, and public health efforts to reduce it. Survey data provide national-level evidence on which to base strategies for addressing the problem.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess the magnitude and characteristics of the problem of violence against women in the Latin American/Caribbean region. Discuss strategies to continue increasing awareness of the problem and measures to change behavior.

Keywords: Violence, Women's Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I, along with my co-authors, have analyzed the data, drawn conclusions, and developed the abstract and presentations.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.