Exploring the impact of domestic violence on reproductive health

AVSC News. Spring 1999;37:1, 4.


PIP: Domestic abuse of women is widespread and not linked to race, class, or educational status. Recognizing the impact of domestic violence on reproductive health, AVSC and the Planned Parenthood Association of South Africa have been developing a men's reproductive health program since 1997. At baseline, almost half of the men surveyed indicated that women suffer rape because they dress provocatively, and 58% asserted that marital rape is impossible. Thus, violence against women was prioritized in the program, which is training community health workers in ways to educate men. Trained workers are now educating men in seven provinces. Challenges faced by the program include a lack of social and legal support for violence elimination, the difficulty of intervening in a violent relationship, social definitions of male power that are based on the subjugation of women, and the financial dependence of women and children on men. Health care providers can help survivors of domestic violence by questioning patients about violence in a nonjudgmental way, helping clients increase their awareness that abuse is not to be tolerated, documenting the signs of abuse in medical records, and referring clients to local resources or helping create such resources.

MeSH terms

  • Africa
  • Africa South of the Sahara
  • Africa, Southern
  • Crime
  • Developing Countries
  • Domestic Violence*
  • Evaluation Studies as Topic*
  • Health
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Men*
  • Organization and Administration
  • Rape*
  • Reproductive Medicine*
  • Social Problems
  • South Africa
  • Women*