Abstract: Intimate Partner Violence - Beyond the Rural Urban Divide (Society for Social Work and Research 25th Annual Conference - Social Work Science for Social Change)

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724P Intimate Partner Violence - Beyond the Rural Urban Divide

Tuesday, January 19, 2021
* noted as presenting author
Nibedita Shrestha, M.Phil, Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Texas at Arlington, Arlington, TX
Background and Purpose: There is a debate on how the rural and urban areas of residence influence Intimate Partner Violence (IPV) against women. Literature points towards a correlation between rural areas and increased likelihood of violence but there is limited knowledge on how neighboring areas influence the likelihood of violence. Nepal is a land-locked country and shares open border with India to the south, east and west and Tibet to the north. It is possible that ideas about gender values and norms spillover as people interact with each other from the neighboring areas, especially when there is high level of communication and movement between these zones. The purpose of the study was to verify if the neighboring area effect could be an important predictor variable for the likelihood of IPV.

Method: This study used data from Demographic Health Survey of Nepal (2016) for currently married women on whom Domestic Violence Modules were administered (n=3705) to see if the rural-urban divide was a predictor for IPV. Regression was used to control variables that literature cites as major risk factors for IPV such as education of the women and their spouses, labor force participation of women, house and land ownership of women, number of children in the household and socio-economic status of the household to isolate the relationship between area of residence and incidence of violence. The extent and the direction of association were stated through adjusted odds ratios (ORs) and significance levels were stated as P values. Statistical significance of the variables was set at P<.05 for the observations.

Results: Statistical results showed no significant difference in violence when area of residence was divided according to the rural and urban zones, but when the data was restructured according to ecological zones, there was a significant difference in violence between the Mountain zones that border the socially liberal Tibet and the Plain zones that border the socially conservative regions of India. Married women living in the Plain zones were three times as likely as married women living in the Mountain zones to face both less severe and severe physical violence and the difference was statistically significant at P<.01.

Conclusions and Implications: The place of residence was an important predictor for IPV against women in Nepal but the difference appeared to be the result of influence from immediate neighbors rather than from the rural-urban categorization of the place. The Plain zone of Nepal that border the states of India with some of the highest prevalences of violence was more likely to show a high prevalence of violence, and the Mountain zone of Nepal that borders socially liberal Tibet was more likely to show less prevalence of violence. Future research should look beyond the rural-urban divide into the influence and context of immediate neighboring areas while studying violence against women.