Does Domestic Violence Decrease as Women Age? Understanding the Patterns of Domestic Violence in India

EvoS Journal: The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium
Volume 14, Special Issue 1, 2024

Title
Does Domestic Violence Decrease as Women Age? Understanding the Patterns of Domestic Violence in India

Author(s)
Kriti Sinha & Summer Mengelkoch

Abstract
In India, rates of domestic violence (DV) are extremely high. Wilson and Daly (1993) propose that DV varies according to a woman’s reproductive value and a woman’s risk of being a victim of DV declines steeply as they age. Here, we investigate the associations between demographic factors (age, residence type, and education level of women) and DV (occurrences of physical violence and trends in sexual violence, two common forms of DV) among women in India using publicly available data collected across four waves from the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), spanning 1998-2021. Analyses revealed that while physical violence decreased with women’s age in the NFHS-2 (1998-99) and NFHS-3 (2005-06) waves, physical violence rates in older women instead increased in the later waves of data collection. Additionally, women living in rural areas experienced higher rates of physical violence compared to those living in urban areas, and less educated women experienced higher rates of physical violence compared to highly educated women. We discuss various economic (unemployment), cognitive (awareness of rights, intergenerational transfer of values), social (increased education level, migration), and evolutionary (income inequality, mate value discrepancies) explanations to understand these trends in the prevalence of DV among older women in India. Finally, we discuss the implications for the implementation of interventions targeted towards survivors of DV in India.

DOI
https://doi.org/10.59077/GBPT5213

How to cite this article:
Sinha, K., & Mengelkoch, S. (2024). Does domestic violence decrease as women age? Understanding the patterns of domestic violence in India. The Journal of the Evolutionary Studies Consortium14(Sp. Iss. 1), 42-74. https://doi.org/10.59077/GBPT5213

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