Husband Violence against Married Women in Kerbala Governorate, Iraq

  • نبا الخفاجي عربي


Background: Husband violence is an international problematic behavior with grave abuse of civilian privileges that happens between all religious, cultural, economic and social individuals. However, this problem is widely prevalent in under-developed countries with huge mass of media news and discussion about its great impact and sequel in these societies. Literature review showed scarcity of studies on husband violence toward married females in Iraq, especially in Kerbala city. It aims to identify the lifetime prevalence of husband among health center clients and to identify its relationship to socio-demographic variables.

Methods: An interview survey was conducted among a cross sectional sample among 320 women (aged 15 to 65 years) attending primary health care centers in Kerbala governorate in Iraq in 2018. A female doctor measured husband violence and potential predictors through interview questionnaire dependent on a World Health Organization questionnaire used in multi-country study.

Results: Tow thirds of the sample were exposed to husband violence. The verbal violence was the most common type of husband violence (45.1%) followed by sexual (34.8%) and physical violence (32.8%). Even pregnant women were not spared while all divorced women in the sample were abused. Low economic income significantly raised husband violence which was also associated with husband substance use (smoking, alcohol and other substances). Abused women welcomed any help even by health care personals (64%).

Conclusions: Husband violence was very common problem among women in Karbala city and verbal violence was the most common type. The problem needs further large scale investigation and urgent preventive programs to be set through wide community efforts.


1. García-Moreno C, Pallitto C, Devries K, Stöckl H, Watts C, Abrahams N. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence: World Health Organization; 2013.
2. Assembly UG. Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women. UN General Assembly. 1993.
3. Alhabib S, Nur U, Jones R. Domestic violence against women: Systematic review of prevalence studies. Journal of family violence. 2010;25(4):369-82.
4. Pyles L, Postmus JL. Addressing the problem of domestic violence: How far have we come? Affilia. 2004;19(4):376-88.
5. Coker AL, Smith PH, McKeown RE, King MJ. Frequency and correlates of intimate partner violence by type: physical, sexual, and psychological battering. American journal of public health. 2000;90(4):553.
6. Fulu E, Jewkes R, Roselli T, Garcia-Moreno C. Prevalence of and factors associated with male perpetration of intimate partner violence: findings from the UN Multi-country Cross-sectional Study on Men and Violence in Asia and the Pacific. The lancet global health. 2013;1(4):e187-e207.
7. Ellsberg MC, Heise L, Organization WH. Researching violence against women: practical guidelines for researchers and activists. 2005.
8. Douki S, Nacef F, Belhadj A, Bouasker A, Ghachem R. Violence against women in Arab and Islamic countries. Archives of women’s mental health. 2003;6(3):165-71.
9. Nelson HD, Nygren P, McInerney Y. Screening for family and intimate partner violence: Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2004.
10. Association AM. Violence against women. Relevance for medical practitioners. JAMA journal of the American Medical Association. 1992;267(23):3184-9.
11. Organization WH. WHO multi-country study on women’s health and domestic violence: Core questionnaire and WHO instrument-Version 9. Geneva: World Health Organization. 2000;913.
12. mousa Ia-a. The Reflect of Present Conditions on the Family Relationships(Violence Against wife)Field Study in Mosul City. Mosoliya studies. 2007(17):145-88.
13. Jabbar MA. The prevalence of violence among a group of married women attending two teaching hospitals in Baghdad. 2006.
14. Al-Atrushi HH, Al-Tawil NG, Shabila NP, Al-Hadithi TS. Intimate partner violence against women in the Erbil city of the Kurdistan region, Iraq. BMC women's health. 2013;13(1):37.
15. Kocacik F, Dogan O. Domestic violence against women in Sivas, Turkey: survey study. Croatian medical journal. 2006;47(5):742-9.
16. Babu BV, Kar SK. Domestic violence against women in eastern India: a population-based study on prevalence and related issues. BMC public health. 2009;9(1):129.
17. Mohammadhosseini E, Sahraean L, Bahrami T. Domestic abuse before, during and after pregnancy in Jahrom, Islamic Republic of Iran. 2010.
18. Afifi EM, Al-Muhaideb NS, Hadish NF, Ismail FI, Al-Qeamy FM. Domestic violence and its impact on married women's health in Eastern Saudi Arabia. Saudi medical journal. 2011;32(6):612-20.
19. Ali S, Mohammed Qasem Surrati A, Omar alfahl S. Domestic Violence: Prevalence among Saudi Women Attending Primary Health Care Centers in Al-Madina Al Monawara City, 20122016.
20. Mousavi S, Eshagian A. Wife abuse in Esfahan, Islamic republic of Iran, 2002. 2005.
21. Yoshihama M, Horrocks J, Kamano S. Experiences of intimate partner violence and related injuries among women in Yokohama, Japan. American journal of public health. 2007;97(2):232-4.
22. Nerøien AI, Schei B. Partner violence and health: results from the first national study on violence against women in Norway. Scandinavian journal of public health. 2008;36(2):161-8.
23. Xu X, Zhu F, O’Campo P, Koenig MA, Mock V, Campbell J. Prevalence of and risk factors for intimate partner violence in China. American journal of public health. 2005;95(1):78-85.
24. Garcia-Moreno C, Jansen HA, Ellsberg M, Heise L, Watts CH. Prevalence of intimate partner violence: findings from the WHO multi-country study on women's health and domestic violence. The lancet. 2006;368(9543):1260-9.
25. Malcoe LH, Duran BM, Montgomery JM. Socioeconomic disparities in intimate partner violence against Native American women: a cross-sectional study. BMC medicine. 2004;2(1):20.
26. Guo S-F, Wu J-L, Qu C-y, Yan R-Y. Domestic abuse on women in China before, during, and after pregnancy. Chinese medical journal. 2004;117(3):331-6.
27. Jirapramukpitak T, Harpham T, Prince M. Family violence and its ‘adversity package’: a community survey of family violence and adverse mental outcomes among young people. Social psychiatry and psychiatric epidemiology. 2011;46(9):825-31.
28. Khairi SH. Assessment Types of Domestic Violence Among Iraqi Pregnant Women. nursing national Iraqi specility. 2007;20(1, 2):1-9.
29. Al-Reemawi O, Namora R. Typed of Violence against Divorced and non-divorced women in Al Khalil Province: Cmparative study (Arabic). Journal of Tikrit University for the Humanities. 2015;22(1):54-79.
30. Haj-Yahia MM. The incidence of witnessing interparental violence and some of its psychological consequences among Arab adolescents. Child Abuse & Neglect. 2001;25(7):885-907.
31. Emenike E, Lawoko S, Dalal K. Intimate partner violence and reproductive health of women in Kenya. International Nursing Review. 2008;55(1):97-102.
32. Klomegah RY. Intimate partner violence (IPV) in Zambia: An examination of risk factors and gender perceptions. Journal of Comparative Family Studies. 2008:557-69.
33. Kishor S, Johnson K. Profiling domestic violence: a multi-country study. 2004.
34. Alrakeeb IS, editor. Family Violence and its Effect on Woman: Ktb.INC; 2015.
35. Chitashvili M, Javakhishvili N, Arutiunov L, Tsuladze L, Chachanidze S. National research on domestic violence against women in Georgia. Tbilisi: UNFPA Georgia. 2010.
36. Noughani F, Mohtashami J. Effect of education on prevention of domestic violence against women. Iranian journal of psychiatry. 2011;6(2):80.
37. Jewkes R. Intimate partner violence: causes and prevention. The lancet. 2002;359(9315):1423-9.
38. Ackerson LK, Kawachi I, Barbeau EM, Subramanian S. Effects of individual and proximate educational context on intimate partner violence: a population-based study of women in India. American journal of public health. 2008;98(3):507-14.
39. Friedemann-Sánchez G, Lovatón R. Intimate partner violence in Colombia: Who is at risk? Social Forces. 2012;91(2):663-88.
40. Tashkandi A, Rasheed P. Wife abuse: a hidden problem. A study among Saudi women attending PHC centres. 2009.
41. Clark CJ, Bloom D, Hill A, Silverman JG. Prevalence estimate of intimate partner violence in Jordan. 2009.
42. Ali TS, Bustamante Gavino I. Prevalence of and reasons for domestic violence among women from low socioeconomic communities of Karachi. 2007.
43. Bradley F, Smith M, Long J, O'dowd T. Reported frequency of domestic violence: cross sectional survey of women attending general practice. Bmj. 2002;324(7332):271.
44. Bates LM, Schuler SR, Islam F, Islam MK. Socioeconomic factors and processes associated with domestic violence in rural Bangladesh. International family planning perspectives. 2004:190-9.
45. Melville JD, McDowell JD. Chapter 7 - Domestic Violence. In: David TJ, Lewis JM, editors. Forensic Odontology: Academic Press; 2018. p. 121-44.
46. Amowitz LL, Kim G, Reis C, Asher JL, Iacopino V. Human rights abuses and concerns about women's health and human rights in southern Iraq. Jama. 2004;291(12):1471-9.
47. Organization WH. Intimate partner violence during pregnancy: Information sheet. 2011.
48. Lafta RK, Al-Saffar AJ, Eissa SA, Al-Nuaimi MA. Gender-based violence: a study of Iraqi women. International Social Science Journal. 2008;59(192):309-16.
49. Crane CA, Pilver CE, Weinberger AH. Cigarette smoking among intimate partner violence perpetrators and victims: Findings from the National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The American journal on addictions. 2014;23(5):493-501.
50. Ahmed HAA, Abid AZA, Alsadah A, Abdullah AAS, Abdullah JSH, Saeed AB, et al. Prevalence and risk factors for abuse among Saudi females, KSA. The Egyptian Journal of Hospital Medicine. 2017;68:1082-8.
51. Golding JM. Intimate partner violence as a risk factor for mental disorders: A meta-analysis. Journal of family violence. 1999;14(2):99-132.
52. Van Lerberghe W. The world health report 2008: primary health care: now more than ever: World Health Organization; 2008.
53. Testa M, Quigley BM, Leonard KE. Does alcohol make a difference? Within-participants comparison of incidents of partner violence. Journal of Interpersonal violence. 2003;18(7):735-43.
54. Moore TM, Stuart GL, Meehan JC, Rhatigan D, Hellmuth JC, Keen SM. Drug abuse and aggression between intimate partners: a meta-analytic review. Clinical psychology review. 2008.
55. El-Bassel N, Gilbert L, Wu E, Chang M, Fontdevila J. Perpetration of intimate partner violence among men in methadone treatment programs in New York City. American journal of public health. 2007;97(7):1230-2.
56. McLennan JD, MacMillan HL. Routine primary care screening for intimate partner violence and other adverse psychosocial exposures: what’s the evidence? BMC family practice. 2016;17(1):103.
57. Arredondo-Provecho AB, Broco-Barredo M, de León Alcalá-Ponce T, Rivera-Álvarez A, Jiménez IT, Gallardo-Pino C. Workers in primary health care and partner violence against women. Revista espanola de salud publica. 2012;86(1):85-99.
How to Cite
الخفاجي, نبا. Husband Violence against Married Women in Kerbala Governorate, Iraq. Kerbala journal of medicine, [S.l.], v. 12, n. 1, p. 4143, aug. 2019. ISSN 1990-5483. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 19 jan. 2020.