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Pregnancy no protection from partner violence, survey finds

Pregnancy no protection from partner violence, survey finds

SUVA, 31 January 2013 – A national survey of women in Fiji has found
that being pregnant has not stopped a woman from experiencing violence
at the hands of her husband or partner.

The major survey by the Fiji Women’s Crisis Centre found that 15 per
cent of ever-pregnant women were physically assaulted during pregnancy
by their spouse or partner.

One in three ever-pregnant women who experienced physically violence
(33%) were severely abused, including being hit or kicked in the
stomach.

The survey findings were published today. The Fiji Women’s Crisis
Centre carried out the research between 2010 and 2011 interviewing
3193 women aged between 18 and 64 years. It is the most extensive of
its kind in Fiji in 10 years and data from it is globally comparable.

Overall, the survey – which was carried out using World Health
Organisation methodology – shows that violence against women cuts
across all aspects of their lives but with some groups more at risk
than others.

The consequences of violence against women on their reproductive
health and children were laid bare in the survey. Women who experience
physical or sexual violence were more likely to have a miscarriage
than those who have not experienced violence by a husband or intimate
partner.

Of the children whose mothers experienced physical violence, more than
half (54.8%) had seen or heard their mother being assaulted.

Violence against women was also found to have a range of negative
impacts on children and their schooling.

The survey found that most women bear the violence they experience in
silence, not reaching out anywhere for help. Almost half of all women
living with partner violence (46.6%) had never told anybody about the
violence and almost four out of five women had never sought help from
any agency to deal with it.

If women did tell somebody about the violence, it was most likely
their family and friends. However, less than one in five women went to
police or health centres and hospitals for help. And less than one in
10 women went to institutions such as legal aid or social welfare or
religious leaders for help. Less than 5 per cent asked shelters and
women’s organisations for help.

ENDS

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