The untold story: sexual violence within marriage among young couples in Nepal

Mahesh Puri, Center for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities (CREHPA)
Jyotsna Tamang, Center for Research on Environment Health and Population Activities, Kathmandu

This paper explores the nature, consequences and coping strategies used by young married women to avoid sexual violence within marriage (SVM) in Nepal. The data comprised 96 free-listings, 6 causal flow analysis and 15 case histories. About half of young women covered in the free-listing reported SVM. The nature of SVM ranged from verbal abuse, intimidation, beating, and unwanted touch on private parts to forced sex. Depression, suicidal tendencies, lower abdomen pain and vaginal bleeding were commonly reported negative health consequences. Women had used various coping strategies such as 'try to convince husbands', 'sleep separately', 'visit maternal home', 'wakeup children', and 'use pretexts such as being ill or menstruation' to avoid SVM. However, in most cases women were not successful. Almost all women experiencing SVM were isolated and do not turn to institutions, relatives or friends for advice and support. Various actions at different levels are required to prevent SVM.

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Presented in Session 45: Gender violence