BY KELVIN MOKAYA
Intimate partner violence (IPV) is undeniably a public health crisis not just in this country, but globally, one that disproportionately affects women and has profound implications for their sexual and reproductive health and bodily autonomy.
IPV encompasses multiple forms of aggression perpetrated by a current or past intimate partner and affects people from all types of backgrounds. Experiencing IPV can have a broad range of negative effects on individuals and families at large, including economic instability, mental health consequences and physical health complications.
Past studies reveal that public humiliation, forced sex and threats have been found to be the most forms of IPV experienced by women living in informal settlements. This doesn’t mean that IPV is not witnessed in other urban or rural settings. Also worth noting is that quite a huge percentage of these cases go unreported. This is very alarming!!!
There’s a high prevalence of IPV among women with HIV in sero-different relationships. Pregnant women and women who have experienced prior violence have a higher prevalence of intimate partner violence.
Harmful gender norms and other social norms influence the perpetration of violence. Encouraging critical reflection about gendered social norms might help prevent intimate partner violence among the young generation. This will help them develop skills to communicate about sexuality, inequitable relationships and reproductive health and creating in them a care-seeking behavior will be crucial to preventing IPV.
Education on violence prevention is also key and this has implications for educational policy regarding sexuality education. Sexuality education has long been conceptualized as tackling violence and gender equality in addition to providing information about health and sexuality.
There is much to be gained if sexual and reproductive health and rights advocates and service providers better understood key policies and programs addressing IPV aimed at impacting health service provision.
Healthy relationships will only be promoted by addressing risk and protective factors at the individual, relationship, community, and societal levels, holistically.