Battered bodies & shattered minds: Violence against women in Bangladesh


Violence against women is a common and insidious phenomenon in Bangladesh. The types of violence commonly committed are domestic violence, acid throwing, rape, trafficking and forced prostitution. Domestic violence is the most common form of violence and its prevalence is higher in rural areas. A higher prevalence of verbal abuse than physical abuse by partners has been observed. The reasons mentioned for abuse were trivial and included questioning of the husband, failure to perform household work and care of children, economic problems, stealing, refusal to bring dowry, etc. The factors associated with violence were the age of women, age of husband, past exposure to familial violence, and lack of spousal communication. The majority of abused women remained silent about their experience because of the high acceptance of violence within society, fear of repercussion, tarnishing family honour and own reputation, jeopardizing children’s future, and lack of an alternative place to stay. However, severely abused women, women who had frequent verbal disputes, higher level of education, and support from natal homes were more likely to disclose violence. A very small proportion of women approached institutional sources for help and only when the abuse was severe, became life threatening or children were at risk. Interestingly, violence increased with membership of women in micro-credit organizations initially but tapered off as duration of involvement increased. The high acceptability of violence within society acts as a deterrent for legal redress. Effective strategies for the prevention of violence should involve public awareness campaigns and community-based networks to support victims.


Wahed, T.; Bhuiya, A. Battered bodies & shattered minds: Violence against women in Bangladesh. Indian Journal of Medical Research (2007) 126 (4) 341-354.

Battered bodies & shattered minds: Violence against women in Bangladesh

Published 1 January 2007