Prevalence, associated factors, and disclosure of intimate partner violence among mothers in rural Bangladesh

Stephen Stake, Saifuddin Ahmed, Wietse Tol, Salahuddin Ahmed, Nazma Begum, Rasheda Khanam, Meagan Harrison, Abdullah H. Baqui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: The purpose of this study is to assess the prevalence and associated factors of physical and sexual intimate partner violence (IPV) among married women of reproductive age in a rural population in northeast Bangladesh. In addition, we examined women’s sharing and disclosure of violence experience with others. Methods: This cross-sectional study uses data from a household survey of 3966 women conducted in 2014 in the Sylhet District of Bangladesh. Interviews were completed in respondent’s homes by trained local female interviewers. Results: Twenty-nine percent (28.8%, 95% CI 27.4–30.3%) of the women reported ever experiencing physical or sexual IPV by their spouse; 13.2% (95% CI 12.1–14.3%) reported physical or sexual IPV in the past year. Of the 13.2%, 10.1% (95% CI 9.2–11.1%) reported experiencing physical IPV and 4.6% (95% CI 4.0–5.3%) reported sexual IPV. In a combined model, the adjusted odds of having experienced physical or sexual IPV in the past year were higher for women who were raised in households with history of IPV (AOR = 4.35, 95% CI 3.26–5.80); women with no formal education (AOR = 1.76, 95% CI 1.30–2.37); women whose husbands had no formal education (AOR = 1.63, 95% CI 1.22–2.17); Muslim (AOR = 1.63, 95% CI 1.03–2.57); women younger than age 30 (AOR = 1.53, 95% CI 1.11–2.12); and women who were members of an NGO or microcredit financial organization (AOR = 1.38, 95% CI 1.04–1.82). Wealth, parity, number of household members, and pregnancy status (pregnant, postpartum, neither pregnant nor postpartum) were not associated with physical or sexual IPV after adjusting for other factors. Data on disclosure was available for women who reported experiencing physical violence in the last year; only 31.8% of victims told someone about the violence they had experienced and 1% reported to police, clerics, health workers, or a counselor altogether. Conclusions: In rural northeast Bangladesh, a high proportion of women of reproductive age experience physical or sexual IPV. Women do not often speak of these experiences, especially to anyone outside of family. Interventions aimed at preventing future IPV and addressing current IPV should focus on women who witnessed IPV in childhood, as well as younger women and less educated couples. Trial registration: This study was registered as a Clinical Trial (Identifier: NCT01702402).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number14
JournalJournal of Health, Population and Nutrition
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2020


  • Bangladesh
  • Intimate partner violence
  • Maternal health
  • Mental health

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Health, Toxicology and Mutagenesis


Dive into the research topics of 'Prevalence, associated factors, and disclosure of intimate partner violence among mothers in rural Bangladesh'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this