Author: Massoud Ali Sharikh
Site of the publication: MDPI
Type of the publication: Article
Date of the publication:March 2022
Lifetime physical and sexual IPV prevalence in ever partnered women aged 15–49 years were reported to be 27% globally, and 33% in WHO Africa region. Myriad demographic, social, and cultural risk factors were identified in single country, multiple country, and meta-analyses studies for higher IPV prevalence against women, that include younger age, low household income, low educational attainment of women, having witnessed parental violence and intergenerational violence transmission, partner’s alcohol use, acceptance of violence by women, and rural residency status.
Notably, two important meta-analyses were recently reported that looked at selected risk factors associated with IPV. A meta-analysis from 25 sub-Saharan African countries using Demographic and Health Survey (DHS) data reinforced the association of increased IPV prevalence with rural residency status, poor living conditions, and low educational attainment in women.
The Republic of Liberia forms the west African coast, with a population of about five million, and had the Human Development Index rank of 175 out of a total of 189 countries in 2019. A coup in early 2003 lead to the ‘United Nations Mission in Liberia’ for providing security. This was followed by an election of a president in 2011; and in the 2017 election, a new president was elected that marked an internationally recognized democratic transition in Liberia after almost three quarters of a century. However, civil strife and resultant political upheavals in the first decade of the new century took its toll in terms of increased IPV. No nationally representative studies are available on the prevalence and correlates of IPV in Liberia since 2007.
Over half of the ever-married women aged 15–49 years reported having ever experienced one or more types of intimate partner violence perpetrated by their either current or most recent husband/partner, with the most common type being physical violence and the least common being sexual violence. The prevalence of having ever experienced both physical as well as emotional IPV was 31.68%, while the number of women who reported having ever experienced all three types of IPV was 6.48%. Having been slapped, insulted, made to feel bad, and physically forced into unwanted sex were the most common types of physical, emotional, and sexual IPV. The prevalence of having experienced physical and/or sexual violence was 45.57%, which is much higher than the prevalence for the WHO Africa region of 33%. Based on the Liberia DHS 2019-20 country report available on the Measure two previous DHSs in Liberia were conducted in the years 2013 and 2007.
Based on the Liberia DHS 2019-20 country report, physical injuries resulting from IPV were sustained by 34% of ever-married women who reported having experienced physical or sexual IPV perpetrated by their current or most recent husband/partner. The inherent nature of cross-sectional survey design of LDHS preclude determination of any causal relationships, as only associations can be inferred. Secondly, by design, the LDHS only interviewed women 15–49 years of age, hence, older women are missed who might have had a higher proportion of having experienced IPV.
Finally, the worst affected victims of IPV, the ones who lost their lives as a result of experiencing such violence, could not be factored into this analysis, i.e., healthy worker effect. Other limitations of the study include the fact that results are limited to ever-married women, and IPV perpetrated by the current or most recent husband/partner.