Sexual violence and unmet need for contraception among married and cohabiting women in sub-Saharan Africa: evidence from demographic and health surveys

Ahinkorah, Bright Opoku, Ameyaw, Edward Kwabena, Seidu, Abdul-Aziz, Agbaglo, Ebenezer, Budu, Eugene, Mensah, Felix, Adu, Collins, and Yaya, Sanni (2020) Sexual violence and unmet need for contraception among married and cohabiting women in sub-Saharan Africa: evidence from demographic and health surveys. PLoS ONE, 15 (11). e0240556.

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Abstract

Introduction: Contraception plays a significant role in fertility regulation and determines the reproductive health rights of women. Studies in other parts of the world have found that sexual violence has negative effects on unmet need for contraception. There has not been any study on the association between these two phenomena in sub-Saharan Africa using current nationally-representative survey data. We investigated the association between sexual violence and unmet need for contraception among married and cohabiting women in sub-Saharan Africa.

Materials and methods: This study was based on secondary datasets from 26 sub-Saharan African countries’ Demographic and Health Surveys conducted between 2010 and 2018. A sample of 101,968 women in sexual unions (married and cohabiting) with complete information on sexual violence and all the variables of interest were included in the analyses. Both bivariate and multilevel logistic regression analyses were carried out to examine the association between sexual violence and unmet need for contraception. Other individual and contextual level socio-economic and demographic variables were considered as covariates. Crude odds ratios [cOR] and adjusted odds ratios [aOR] with their corresponding 95% confidence intervals [CI], signifying precision, were presented. Level of statistical significance was declared at p<0.05.

Results: The overall prevalence of sexual violence and unmet need for contraception in the 26 sub-Saharan African countries were 8.7% and 28.7% respectively. Experience of sexual violence within the last 12 months resulted in 10% increase in unmet need for contraception [OR = 1.10, CI = 1.03–1.14] and 5% increase in unmet need for contraception after controlling for individual and contextual level factors [aOR = 1.05, CI = 1.01–1.11]. With the individual level factors, women with 4 or more births [aOR = 4.85, CI = 4.41–5.33], those cohabiting [aOR = 1.43, CI = 1.37–1.47], those in female headed households [aOR = 1.22, CI = 1.18–1.27] and those who watched television at least once a week [aOR = 1.12, CI = 1.07–1.16] had higher odds of unmet need for family planning. However, those aged 30–34 [aOR = 0.56, CI = 0.52–0.61], those with secondary/higher level of education [AOR = 0.80, CI = 0.77–0.84], those who read newspaper less than once a week [aOR = 0.75, CI = 0.71–0.79] and those who listened to radio at least once a week [aOR = 0.94, CI = 0.90–0.97] had lower odds of unmet need for contraception. In terms of the contextual factors, women in rural areas [aOR = 0.87, CI = 0.84–0.91] and those in the richest wealth quintile households [aOR = 0.80, CI = 0.75–0.85] had lower odds of unmet need for contraception.

Conclusion: Our study has shown an association between sexual violence and unmet need for contraception in sub-Saharan Africa. Experiencing sexual violence increases the likelihood of unmet need for contraception in sub-Saharan Africa. It is also worthy to note that having four or more children, cohabiting with a male partner, and living in female-headed households are some of the key variables associated with unmet need for contraception in sub-Saharan Africa. Our study recommends that, successful contraceptive initiatives should focus on reducing sexual violence, while taking into consideration other significant factors that increase unmet need for contraception. Meanwhile, in doing this, contextual factors ought to be prioritised.

Item ID: 66663
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1932-6203
Copyright Information: © 2020 Ahinkorah et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Date Deposited: 24 May 2021 23:30
FoR Codes: 44 HUMAN SOCIETY > 4407 Policy and administration > 440705 Gender, policy and administration @ 100%
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