Background Domestic Violence in pregnancy is an issue of immense public health concern. The prevalence is high in low and middle income countries with marked variations within and among such nations.
Methods A cross-sectional comparative study design was used and participants were selected using a multistage sampling technique. Data analysis was carried out using SPSS with p-value of 0.05.
Results The commonest form of DV reported was psychological violence 66.8% (rural 69.3% and urban 64.4%). The least reported form of DV was sexual violence 11.3% (rural 14.2% and urban 8.5%). Verbal violence was 47.9% (rural 46.2% and urban 49.6%) and physical violence was 33.4% (rural 43.6% and urban 23.4%). Intimate partners formed the highest proportion of perpetrators of DV for both groups (rural 59.0% and urban 48.7%). The risk factors identified were geographic location that is residing in a rural area (AOR 2.052 95% C.I: 1.349 – 3.122). Other significant findings on bi-variate analysis were alcohol use by victims; alcohol and other substance abuse and controlling behaviour by intimate partners. Intimate partners of the professionals’ category were less likely to perpetrate physical violence in the rural group. Approximately half (46.7%) of the rural group and 38.9% of the urban group sought for help following incidents of DV. Help was mainly sought from informal sources such as family and friends interventions (rural 42.7% and urban 32.7%). Very few women (rural 1.3% and urban 2.5%) sought for formal help from the police. Coping strategies employed were mainly ‘keeping silent’ (rural 52.9% and urban 36.0%), ‘reporting to family and friends’ (rural 11.1% and urban16.9%) and ‘staying away from perpetrators’ (rural 2.2% and urban 3.8%).
Conclusions This study confirmed that the prevalence of DV against pregnant women was high among pregnant women in rural and urban areas of Rivers state and that victims rarely used formal help-seeking resources.
- Domestic Violence
- Pregnant women
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