Vincent Sezibera (PhD) & Claire Bahati (MSc)
Department of Clinical Psychology, University of Rwanda, Rwanda
Background and Purpose of the study
The concept of violence against women has been used to describe a wide range of acts, including murder, rape and sexual assault, physical assault, emotional abuse, battering, stalking, prostitution, genital mutilation, sexual harassment, and pornography.
Such concepts could not distinguish violence between two persons engaged in romantic relationship from violence between intimate partners. Therefore, particular attention should be made to intimate partner violence (IPV) to better understand factors predicting violence in couples and drawn healing strategies.
The IPV is no longer considered as a situation where female is victims and male to be perpetrators. Hence, the IPV is estimated to be a “bidirectional situation” where each partner is both an aggressor and a victim (Friend et al., 2011). Moreover, IPV is a serious forensic and clinical problem that deserves particular attention and systematic intervention strategies.
This study aimed at assessing the predicting and mental health burden from the intimate partner violence (IPV).
Aged between 24 and 77 years (M= 39; SD=11), and slightly males (54.7%), participants (N=76) were recruited from the association of IPV in the Mageragere Sector, Nyarugenge District, Kigali. It was assumed that IPV is caused by a number of factors including psycho-socio-economic factors and which affect in turn mental health. A mixed methods approach was used to serve the purpose of the study. Standardized questionnaires were used to assess the level of victimization and perpetration of the IPV and mental health poor outcomes. The quantitative data were supplemented by the qualitative data collected from interview.
The major findings from this study indicate significant correlation between IPV severity, medical conditions, beliefs, past traumas/neglect and the mental health burden. The data analysis yielded that a significant number of the participants are likely to develop PTSD (36.8%), severe (28.9%) and extreme depression (27.6%) leading to suicide risk and risk behaviors (25%) as a result of being exposed to IPV. Although participants are assisted by a local association to handle the IPV issues, the Life Wounds Healing Association (LIWOHA), 25.8% reported on-going conflicts and abusive relationship at the time of the screening.
Results from this study are expected to raise awareness on the IPV prevalence and its detrimental effect to mental health.
This abstract was accepted for an oral presentation at the "International German and Rwandan Medical Congress and Forensic Summer School 2014". Theme ; "The Developments of Medico-Legal Services under the perspective of Rwanda and Germany", 18th-23rd Augst 2014. Kigali/Rwanda.