This study was aimed to estimate the prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) in a sample of 226 women with disabilities living in four different districts of Bangladesh. It also explored the physical and psychological suffering of women experiencing violence and their various coping strategies. A cross-sectional survey was carried out with 226 women with disabilities to measure the prevalence of IPV, and 16 in-depth interviews were conducted to document in detail the experiences of violence encountered by the abused women. Among the 226 women interviewed in the survey, about 84% reported ever having experienced at least one act of emotional abuse, physical, or sexual violence from their partner during their lifetime. Women who were older (aged above 32 years), separated, and members of economic/savings group were more likely to report ever having experienced any IPV than women with disabilities who were younger (aged 32 years and less), married, and not members of economic/savings group. Most of the women experiencing violence reported sufferings from physical and psychological problems. Of all the women who experienced violence, less than half (45%) reported seeking support to minimize or avoid violence experiences. However, seeking support from informal network such as family and relatives was commonly reported by many (81.4%) of them. Study findings suggest that women with disabilities who possess poor socio-economic status coupled with economic dependency on husbands' income and wide-spread social stigma against disability make them vulnerable to IPV. Future interventions to address IPV against women with disabilities should include building community knowledge of disability and IPV, countering the pervasive social stigma against disabilities, and improving the socio-economic conditions of women with disabilities through education and employment.
Keywords: Bangladesh; intimate partner violence; women with disabilities.
© The Author(s) 2014.