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Domestic violence in the NFHS-4
The NFHS-4 administered the “Women’s Questionnaire” to all women between the ages of 15 and 49, and as part of this questionnaire, ever- married and formerly married women were administered a household relations questionnaire which asked them about their experience with respect to (1) controlling behaviour by their husbands; (2) emotional abuse by their husbands in terms of being insulted, humiliated, and threatened by them; and (3) physical abuse by their husbands in terms of being pushed, slapped, punched or hit, kicked or dragged, arm twisted or hair pulled, and sexual violence.4
The questions on emotional and physical abuse asked in the NFHS-4 invited responses in terms of the frequency of abuse: “never”, “often”, “sometimes”, “yes, but not in the past 12 months”. In this chapter, a woman was judged to have been abused, either emotionally or physically, if her response was “often”, “sometimes”, “yes, but not in the past 12 months” and judged to have been not abused only if her response was “never”. The question on sexual violence (“experienced any sexual violence by husband/ partner?”) invited a simple yes/no answer.
In addition to the answers provided by these questions, the NFHS-4 also provides information about the women outside the sphere of household relations, inter alia their caste/religion, household wealth, age, education, and state of residence.
From the information provided on caste and religion, the women were defined as belonging to households in one of the following social groups: (1) Scheduled Tribes (STs), (2) Scheduled Castes (SCs), (3) non-Muslim Other Backward Classes (NMOBCs), (4) Muslims; and (5) non-Muslim upper classes (NMUCs). These composed 9% (ST), 21.3% (SC), 38.3% (NMOBC), 11% (Muslim), and 20.3% (NMUC) of the total of households in the NFHS-4.
Table 4.1 shows the controlling behaviour of husbands by social group and household wealth by the type of control imposed by them on their wives: (1) the husband is jealous if the wife speaks to another man, (2) the wife is not permitted by her husband to meet friends, (3) the wife’s contacts with her family are limited by her husband, (4) the husband insists on knowing the wife’s whereabouts, and (5) the husband does not trust his wife with money. The first row of Table 4.1 shows that 26.4% of husbands were jealous, 21.6% of husbands did not permit wives to meet their friends, 16.5% limited contact their wives’ contact with their families, 19.9% of husbands insisted on knowing their wives’ whereabouts, and 24% of husbands did not trust their wives with money. In terms of social group, the percentage of women subject to these controls was, for every type of control, lowest for women from the NMUCs, and it was generally the case that the percentage of women subject to these controls was highest for those from the SCs and for Muslims. In terms of wealth, Table 4.1 makes clear that the percentage
82 Domestic violence
Table 4.1 Controlling behaviour by husbands, by social group and household wealth
Source: Own calculations from the National Family Health Survey-4.
of women subject to these controls fell dramatically as household wealth increased; for example, 22% of women in the poorest, but only 11% of women in the richest, households had access to their families restricted by their husbands.
In terms of the number of controls imposed by husbands on their wives, Table 4.2 shows that 50.5% of wives did not have any controls imposed while, at the other extreme, 17% of women faced three or more controls. The percentage of women without any controls was highest for those from the NMUCs (57.4%) and lowest for Muslim women (49%) and women from the SCs (46.3%); ar the other extreme, the percentage of women with 3+ controls was lowest for those from the NMUCs (12.8%) and highest for Muslim women (19.2%) and women from the SCs (19.5%). In terms of wealth, 61% of women in the richest households, but only 37.1% of women in the poorest households, did not have any controls imposed; at the other extreme, 26.9% of women in the poorest households, but only 9.9% of women in the richest households, faced 3+ controls.
Source: Own Calculations from the National Family Health Survey-4.