One in every four Jamaican women has experienced physical violence at the hands of their male partners.
More than seven-percent of Jamaica’s women experience sexual abuse by their male partners.
Those are some of the findings contained in the first Women’s Health Survey 2016, the results of which were presented today.
The survey is a co-publication of the Statistical Institute of Jamaica, STATIN, the Inter-American Development Bank and the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women, UN Women.
The study is designed to collect quantitative and qualitative information on women’s health and their experience with violence.
A sample of over 2,000 households, was used.
The survey also revealed that while most of the women don’t seek professional help for abuse, a majority of them, fight back.
The survey found that women with no or lower levels of education, and those who have had children, are more likely to be abused by their male partners.
Overall, 25-percent of women aged 16 to 64, experienced physical abuse by their partners.
Gender Minister, Olivia ‘Babsy’ Grange, says the findings are troubling.
The survey also found that men’s use of alcohol or other recreational drugs increased the likelihood of them physically or sexually abusing their female partners.
It found that 80-percent of abused women sought help or reported the abuse to their neighbours, friends or relatives, instead of law enforcement agencies.
But, the survey unearthed that nearly 40-percent of those women got no help.
Minister Grange says Jamaica’s culture of silence emboldens abusers.
The qualitative data from the survey, found that physically abused women train themselves or are trained to tolerate, and in some instances, trivialize violence against women.
According to the Women’s Health Survey, physically abused women experienced poor health.
Some of them battle depression and are often suicidal.
And, the survey says their children tend to drop out of school earlier and are at risk for early exposure to violence.
The survey also found that 71-percent of women who experienced physical abuse by their partners, fought back.
In the meantime, the survey found that 23-percent of women were sexually abused by men other than their partners.
It says those women note that their abuse had happened within the last twelve months prior to the interview.
Over 40-percent of those women said their perpetrators were friends or acquaintances, 15-percent said their attackers were family members and 23-percent– said it was a stranger.
It said one-fifth of women report being abused before reaching 18 years old.
And the survey also measured people’s attitudes to women’s health and violence.
It found that over 31-percent of people surveyed believe that a wife is obligated to have sex with her husband whenever he asks, unless she is sick or menstruating.
And 15-percent of people surveyed believe that female rape victims contribute in some way to being raped.