Domestic violence, often known as domestic abuse or intimate partner violence (IPV), is any pattern of behaviour aimed at establishing or maintaining dominance and authority over a partner. IPV is any kind of sexual, emotional, financial, or psychological harm or threat against another person. IPV is one of the most prevalent forms of violence against women worldwide [excerpt taken from this article].
I arbore all forms of violence and in particular those directed at vulnerable individuals. Women fall easily into this category even without disability. There seems to be a different rule for women as opposed to men preordained by a male social hierarchy. It comes as no surprise a century on women continue to have less rights and equality than men.
With MS even, my experience has been that women are affected by abuse more than men, but men are not spared it. Definitely, cognitive dysfunction, disability level and age (in that order) seem to play a major role.
In a cross-sectional study from Iran using the violence against women questionnaire scores on psychological violence, economic violence, physical violence, and sexual violence were collected. In a sample of 275 married women domestic violence was ranked moderate to severe – psychological violence (53.1%), economic violence (63%), physical violence (33.6%) and sexual violence (20.4%).
Psychological violence was higher in women with more than two children (P = 0.014), women with spouse’s income less than 1190 dollars (P = 0.014), un-employed women (P = 0.023), women with educational level lower than university (P = 0.001) and women whose spouse’s education was below diploma (P = 0.045). The economic violence was significantly higher in women whose husband’s income were less than 1190 dollars (P = 0.001) and also women with lower education (P = 0.001). Physical violence was significantly higher in families that the woman was older than her husband (P = 0.004); also, the physical violence was significantly higher in women with spouse’s income less than 476 dollars (P = 0.001), women whose spouse was labourer (P = 0.001), women with low education (P = 0.001) and women whose husband’s education was low (P = 0.011). Sexual violence was higher in women older than their husband (P = 0.03), women with a lower spouse’s educational level (P = 0.024); also, the sexual violence was low in women with strong family support compared to other level of family support (P = 0.003).
In another study (much larger one) performed in New Zealand comprising of 2888 women and men, those with any disability reported significantly higher rates abuse in both genders, including physical violence and psychological and economic abuse. Women with disabilities were more likely to report experiences of sexual violence than men (range =13.5-17.1% vs 4.0%–21.2% in men). Men with intellectual disability were more likely to report physical violence than women with intellectual disability (60.5% in men and 36.0% in women). If you want to read further on this please follow the link Lifetime Prevalence of Intimate Partner Violence and Disability: Results From a Population-Based Study in New Zealand – American Journal of Preventive Medicine (ajpmonline.org).
In my opinion human rights is a low bar to meet. Why we haven’t sorted this one out yet is frankly depressing.
BMC Womens Health. 2022 Jul 31;22(1):321.
Domestic violence experienced by women with multiple sclerosis: a study from the North-East of Iran
Introduction: Violence against women is a significant health and legal problem and has been declared as a health priority by the World Health Organization. The most common type of violence against women is domestic violence, more prevalent against women with disabilities than other women. Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a debilitating neurological disease and has experienced sudden growth in Iran. This study aimed to investigate the prevalence of domestic violence and its various types (psychological, economic, physical, and sexual) experienced by women with MS.
Methods: In this cross-sectional study, 275 married women with MS were selected using convenience sampling. After obtaining informed consent and reviewing the inclusion and exclusion criteria, the Domestic Violence against Women Questionnaire developed by Mohseni Tabrizi et al. was completed by the participants on a self-report basis. The results were analyzed using SPSS software version 16. To analyze data, statistical tests including chi-square and Fisher exact tests for univariate analysis and logistic regression, were employed.
Results: The mean age of participants was 37.12 ± 8.48 years. Domestic violence in different forms of psychological, economic, physical, and sexual violence was present in 53.1%, 63%, 33.6%, and 20.4% of participants, respectively. Economic violence (33.8%) was the highest, and sexual violence (5.1%) was the lowest rate of severe violence among participants. There was a significant relationship between the overall rate of domestic violence and the variables including income (P = 0.013), spouse’s income (P = 0.001), participant’s job (P = 0.036) and participant’s education (P = 0.001). In logistic regression, the overall rate of domestic violence was higher in participants with education less than a diploma than in participants with a diploma (P = 0.014) and participants with a university education (P = 0.016).
Conclusion: According to the results, providing opportunities such as promoting the social status of women, fulfilling the rights of women with disabilities and debilitating diseases such as MS in society is recommended. Additionally, educating men about the negative impact of domestic violence on the current and future status of the family seems necessary. Providing counseling facilities on various forms of violence, especially domestic violence, for women with MS, is also recommended.