, Volume 35, Issue 1, pp 11-24

Power, Control, and Intimate Partner Sexual Violence in Haiti

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This study sought to determine how power and control in intimate relationships influenced women's exposure to sexual violence. Multilevel modeling was used to determine the risk of partner sexual violence in the past 12 months among 2240 women aged 15–49 years who were currently married or cohabiting. The data were drawn from the 2000 Haiti Demographic and Health Survey. Strong positive effects on intimate partner sexual violence were found for husband's jealousy and perpetration of controlling behavior and women's endorsement of traditional norms concerning a husband's rights to beat his wife. Female dominance in decision making about purchases for daily household needs was positively associated with intimate partner sexual violence but its effects were mediated by relationship quality. The effect of wife's education on intimate partner violence was nonlinear. The analysis also showed that high community female headship rates were independently associated with higher risks of partner sexual violence. The findings highlight the importance of adopting a multidimensional approach to the measurement of power in sexual relationships and the need for programs to work at multiple levels to address gender-based norms and the structural factors that put women at increased risk of sexual violence.