Thursday, January 6, 2011

40% wives beaten by husbands

‘Moms beaten at home led to death of 1.8m girl children’

New Delhi: The deaths of 1.8 million girl children in India over the past two decades have for the first time being linked to domestic violence against their mothers. After examining over 158,000 births between 1985 and 2005, an international team of researchers found that spousal violence against

wives increased the risk of death among girlchildren, but not male kids, in both t h e f i r s t year and the first 5 years of life.

According to lead author Jay Silverman, associate professor at Harvard School of Public Health, “Being born a girl into a family in India in which your mother is abused makes it significantly less likely that you will survive early childhood. This violence does not pose a threat to your life if you are lucky enough to be born a boy”.

40% wives beaten by husbands
New Delhi: A recent study has shown that being born a girl into a family in India in which your mother is abused makes it significantly less likely that you will survive early childhood. According to authors, this disparity is connected directly with the lower investment in girl children in areas like nutrition, immunisation and care for major causes of infant and child death like diarrhoea and respiratory infections.

This neglect of girl infants is likely to be most pronounced in families in which the status of women is the lowest — families in which women are physically abused by their husbands.

The study published in the January issue of the journal “Archives of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine” has been conducted jointly by researchers from Harvard School of Public Health, Indian Council of Medical Research, Boston University School of Public Health and the National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health in Mumbai.

“Family violence against women in India must be vigorously challenged, given that even a very small reduction in this abuse may lead to the saving of tens of thousands of lives of girl infants and children,” said Silverman.

Violence against women is rampant in India. According to India’s latest national family health survey-III, which interviewed 1.25 lakh women in 28 states during 2005-06, over 40% of women reported being beaten by their husbands at some point of time. Over 51% of the 75,000 men interviewed didn’t find anything wrong with assaulting their wives.

Shockingly, around 54% women surveyed thought such violence was justified on one ground or the other. An earlier study done by Harvard on domestic violence in India had made another major finding — children of women beaten up or abused by husbands were 21% more likely to die before their fifth birthday. Infants, those aged less than one year were 50% more likely to die if their mothers were abused.

Another study had found that women who are victims of domestic violence have a 37% increased risk of suffering from asthma. Similarly, children aged between 0 and 4 years living with women who experienced domestic violence were found to be 30% more at risk of suffering from asthma.

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