Intimate Partner Violence in Tajikistan: Risk and Protective Factors

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Background: Violence against women perpetrated by intimate partners (IPV) is a sufficiently serious social issue in the countries of the former Soviet Union to warrant focused attention and sociological research. In spite of recent advances in the understanding of the prevalence and detrimental consequences of IPV worldwide, little is known about IPV in transitional countries, where very few studies have been carried out. Investigating IPV against women in different societies and analyzing micro- and macro-level factors (i.e., social, economic, psychological, etc.) that contribute to IPV is important for social scientists in order to understand the nature of IPV and to combat it. Objectives: The aims of the study were to examine the prevalence of physical IPV in Tajikistan and discuss the risk factors for IPV in this country of the former Soviet Union. Method: This research is based on the data from the Tajik Demographic and Health Surveys conducted in 2012. SPSS 21.0 and STATA 13 were used for statistical analysis, which involved a multistep process and included a series of statistical methods such as a univariate descriptive analysis of IPV predictor and outcome variables and a multilevel regression model for survey data to estimate the effect of individual- and community-level characteristics and to take into consideration the multilevel nature of IPV. The analyses rely upon binomial and ordered logistic regression models. Results: The results of this study demonstrate that physical IPV is not a rare phenomenon in Tajikistan where 18% of women in this region have experienced IPV at some point of their lives, and the rate of lifetime occurrence of IPV is 17.5%. While women's older age and living in rural area are protective factors against IPV in Tajikistan, risk factors for physical IPV include higher number of children, household wealth, women's employment, partner's alcohol consumptions, witnessing IPV in women's family of origin, justification of IPV by women, and partner's controlling behavior. Conclusion: The current study provides evidence that a significant number of women are physically abused by their intimate partners in Tajikistan. In the context of the significant structural changes and the strengthening of patriarchal ideology resulted by the collapse if the Soviet Union, an examination of the risk factors of IPV in this region is well-timed and important for the understanding of gender relations and gender-based violence.

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