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Int J Womens Health. 2012;4:577-85. doi: 10.2147/IJWH.S33325. Epub 2012 Nov 2.

Violence permeating daily life: a qualitative study investigating perspectives on violence among women in Karachi, Pakistan.

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  • 1School of Nursing, Aga Khan University, Karachi, Pakistan; ; Department of Public Health Sciences, Division of Global Health, Karolinska Institute, Stockholm.



This study explored how married women perceive situations which create family conflicts and lead to different forms of violence in urban Pakistan. In addition, it examines perceptions of consequences of violence, their adverse health effects, and how women resist violence within marital life.


Five focus group discussions were conducted with 28 women in Karachi. Purposive sampling, aiming for variety in age, employment status, education, and socioeconomic status, was employed. The focus group discussions were conducted in Urdu and translated into English. Manifest and latent content analysis were applied.


One major theme emerged during the analysis, ie, family violence through the eyes of females. This theme was subdivided into three main categories. The first category, ie, situations provoking violence and their manifestations, elaborates on circumstances that provoke violence and situations that sustain violence. The second category, ie, actions and reactions to exposure to violence, describes consequences of ongoing violence within the family, including those that result in suicidal thoughts and actions. The final category, ie, resisting violence, describes how violence is avoided through women's awareness and actions.


The current study highlights how female victims of abuse are trapped in a society where violence from a partner and family members is viewed as acceptable, where divorce is unavailable to the majority, and where societal support of women is limited. There is an urgent need to raise the subject of violence against women and tackle this human rights problem at all levels of society by targeting the individual, family, community, and societal levels concurrently.


Pakistan; domestic violence; empowerment; gender inequality; qualitative study; violence against women; women’s perceptions

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