Abusive yet affectionate husbands: Conflicting perceptions of domestic violence experiences of wives living in urban slum communities of Mumbai, India

Ajeesh Sebastian, Shahina Begum, Balaiah Donta, D. D. Naik, Prashant Tapase


Background: The prevalence of intimate partner violence (IPV) contributed to reproductive health problems worldwide. Data on coping mechanism of women within domestic violence (DV) were unexplored.

Methods: The objective of the paper was to explore the perceived cause of DV and coping mechanism of women who reported affectionate nature of husband. A community-based intervention study was carried out in urban slums to screen women with an unmet need for family planning. Women reported of DV in the past one year preceding the survey were counselled on marital communication and family planning methods. During these sessions, women shared their views on the cause of DV and their coping mechanism.

Results: The narratives of the sessions threw light into the cause of DV, which includes decision-making, the influence of significant others and fewer time couples spent with each other. Affectionate nature and violence by husbands created a conflict of emotions. Fear of loss of the relationship and socio-cultural attitude made them remain in the relationship.

Conclusions: The wives develop an emotional attachment with their partners and do not want to leave the relationship. They create a space within the abusive relationship; enjoy limited functionings, a bonus of affections and demoting violence from the partner without taking a chance to lose the relationship.


Abusive vs. affection, Conflict of emotions, Coping strategies, Domestic violence, Emotional attachment

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