Domestic Violence and Suicide among Women in Dhaka Division, Bangladesh
Jennet Arcara, Rollins School of Public Health, Emory University
AKM Fazlur Rahman, Center for Injury Prevention and Research, Bangladesh (CIPRB)
Roger W. Rochat, Rollins School of Public Health
National surveys on injury-related deaths among women and children in Bangladesh have found that suicides have a major effect on levels of mortality among adolescent and young women. Because of Bangladesh’s patriarchal social structure, violence against women is widespread and is assumed to be the primary determinant of women’s suicides. This qualitative research study was designed to ascertain whether domestic violence is indeed linked to suicide among young women in rural and semi-rural Bangladesh. We conducted semi-structured in-depth interviews with families of 15 women who had committed suicide; we also conducted focus group discussions with community health workers and local leaders, in order to determine community-level norms, tolerances, and processes for dealing with domestic violence and suicide. Preliminary results show that the immediate causes of suicides varied; however, there is evidence to suggest a role of domestic violence and that all suicides were linked to women’s decision-making power and status.