The Relationship Between Marriage Payments and Domestic Violence in India Open Access

Gibson, Katie (2016)

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Background: The respective harmful and protective associations between dowry and bridewealth traditions and domestic violence in India have been established. However, few studies have addressed the relationship between bridewealth size and domestic violence, and little is known of the relationship between dowry size and sexual violence. This is problematic because domestic violence likelihood may be experienced differently across varying sizes of bridewealth and dowry payments. Higher dowry payment sizes and higher levels of women's autonomy have been associated with lower reporting of physical violence. We expect that that higher payments of dowry will be associated with lower reporting of domestic violence, and that higher payments of bridewealth will be associated with higher reporting of domestic violence.

Objectives: To determine the relationship between estimated village bridewealth and dowry sizes, and experiences of domestic violence among married Indian women.

Methods: Data from the India Human Development Survey (2011-12) and domestic violence module of the National Family Health Survey (2005-06) were combined to provide information on village marriage practices and reports of physical and sexual violence experiences of married Indian women ages 15-49, on a sample size of 68,484 women. Descriptive statistics, chi-square, t-tests, and logistic regression analyses were conducted to identify these associations.

Results: Higher bridewealth payments are 72% more likely to result in experiences of any violence, 20% more likely to result in severe physical violence, and 73% less likely to result in sexual violence. Higher dowry payments are 18% less likely to result in experiences of any violence, and 64% more likely to result in sexual violence. Associations between dowry and severe physical violence were not significant.

Conclusion: Results of associations between marriage payment size and domestic violence were consistent with our hypotheses on reports of physical violence and any violence, however not for reports of sexual violence. These findings suggest that physical and sexual domestic violence is experienced differently across varying sizes of bridewealth and dowry payments. Our results have implications for public health policy related to the regulation of marriage payment laws, and interventions targeted at the community level addressing social norms surrounding marriage practices and violence.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction 1

Review of the Literature 4

Domestic Violence 4

Physical Violence 4

Sexual Violence 6

Marriage Practices on Domestic Violence 7

Methods 13

Data 13

Variables 14

Statistical Analyses 17

Results 18

Descriptive Results 18

Experiences of Domestic Violence 20

Logistic Regression: Any and Severe Physical Violence 22

Logistic Regression: Sexual Violence 22

Domestic Violence Prediction 24

Discussion 25

Findings 25

Strengths and Limitations 27

Conclusion and Recommendations 28

References 29

Tables 33

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