A Poverty Resource Hub of Focus on the Global South Philippines

Poverty in the Philippines: Violence against Women

Poverty in the Philippines: Violence against Women

Jan 25, 2012

Poverty in the Philippines: Violence against Women

(Note: This piece is a segment from a larger article “Poverty in the Philippines: A Profile”, showcased in Focus-Philippines’ upcoming Poverty Policy Review)

Violence against Women and Wealth Quintiles

Lowest Quintile Second Middle Fourth Highest
Women aged 14-49, having experienced physical violence 28.5 25.8 19.8 17.3 11.9
Women aged 14-49, having experienced sexual violence 13.9 11.9 8.8 5.6 4.9
Women aged 14-49, having experienced spousal violence (physical and sexual) 34.1 34.0 31.5 25.1 19.1

Source: National Statistics Office— NDHS (2008)

The experience of poverty places enormous stresses on the relationships and psychological states of the poor— this takes its toll on the kinds of social relations they cultivate, often in ways that may reinforce their present state of immiseration. The poor are not always as “isolated” as some scholars may claim, yet one pattern that does appear to hold valence is their greater exposure to violence, an exposure that may very well erode their own well-being and relational quality with others.

One particular area where this heightened exposure to violence is especially visible— though by no means limited— lies in domestic violence and violence against women. Far from being comprised by arbitrary, individually-determined episodes, statistics of such violence find a straight-arrow relationship between income stratification and the frequency of domestic violence: the poorer one is, the more domestic violence seems to be experienced.

For example, in the lowest income quintile, 28.5% have reported having been the victim of domestic violence. This figure steadily decreases as one steps up the income ladder— 25.8% for the second quintile, 19.8% for the middle quintile, until 11.9% for the highest quintile—, and is broadly parallel to trends for sexual violence and spousal violence.

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