Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Socio-Economic Status and Domestic Violence: A Study on Married Women in Urban Lahore, Pakistan

Academic journal article South Asian Studies

Socio-Economic Status and Domestic Violence: A Study on Married Women in Urban Lahore, Pakistan

Article excerpt

Introduction

Domestic violence against women is widely recognized public health issue across the globe. Domestic violence covers a range of physical, psychological and sexual coercive acts used against adolescent and adult women by current or former male intimate partner (WHO, 2005).Women's exposure to domestic violence, amidst other factors, could be attributed to their socio-economic positions (Weaver et al., 2009), particularly in patriarchal culture where they are relatively disadvantaged (Barnett, 2000).

Socio-economic factors intertwined with patriarchal culture put the women in subordinate position, which in turn have repercussions for three important spaces of women namely; the bodily space, the personal space and the cognitive space (Burlae, 2004). Women's bodily space is violated through physical and sexual violence, while violation of personal space refers to women's experiences of restrained movement in society compared to those of males.

When women are verbally abused they lose the protection of their cognitive space and suffer psychological disorders. These three important spaces of women seem to be invaded across the globe in one way or the other. However, violence against woman may also be attributed to her husband's socio-economic status. Various researchers (for example, Smith, 1990; Hoffman et al., 1994) documented that husbands with low educational attainments, low income and low job status are more likely to perpetrate violence against their respective wives compared to those with high socio-economic status. It may be argued that gap between household income and expenditure levels could prod many husbands to behave violently. In other words, women who entirely depend on their husbands and make no financial contribution to their respective households are more likely to experience domestic violence. Some researchers, for example Kocaciket et al., (2007) observed positive relationship between family income level and violence against women. Similarly, Rani and Bonu (2009) noted that women's education and income levels were associated with the prevalence of violence. Thus, women with more education and income are less likely to be vulnerable to domestic violence. The present study was conducted on married women to see whether or not their socio-economic status was associated with their vulnerability to domestic violence.

Methods and Materials

The present study is based on first author's M.Phil research project. A household survey from different socio-economic neighborhoods of urban Lahore was carried out in 2012. The selected localities were:

· Green Town (a lower socio-economic neighborhood) where houses were built on a plot size of three to five Marla (1 Marla= 272.25 sq.ft) with a purchase value of Rs. 1 million and a rental value of Rs. 6000- 9000/- (US $ 67-101). It is important to mention here that approximately 89 Pakistani Rupees (local currency) were equivalent to 1US Dollar at the time of interview.

· Ferozianwala (a middle socio-economic neighborhood) where houses were built on a plot size of five to eight Marla with a purchase value ranged from Rs.1.5 to 2.0 million rupees and rental value ranging from Rs. 10,000- 15,000/-

· Askari Flats (an upper middle socio-economic neighborhood) where flats were built on a plot size of ten Marla with a purchase value of Rs.6.0 to 8.0 million and a rental value of Rs. 18,000- 24,999/-

· Defence Housing Authority Villas in Phase 8 (a posh area) where houses were built on a plot size of twelve Marla and above with a purchase value ranging from Rs.10.0 to 25.0 million rupees and rental value of Rs.30,000- 70,000/-

The selection of the neighborhoods was done on the basis of discussions with the local property dealers and local administrators by using the indicators such as the size of the residential plots, purchase value and rental levels of the selected areas. Households were selected by using census 1998 definition of a household that stated a household consist of a person, or a group of persons, who occupied a common dwelling (or part of it) for at least four days a week and who provided themselves jointly with food and other essentials for living. …

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