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Intimate partner violence, modern contraceptive use and conflict in the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Authors: Rachel Kidmana, Tia Palermo, and Jane Bertrand
Source: Social Science and Medicine, 133: 2–10; doi:10.1016/j.socscimed.2015.03.034
Topic(s): Contraception
Family planning
Intimate Partner Violence (IPV)
Sexual violence
Country: Africa
  Congo Democratic Republic
Published: MAY 2015
Abstract: Intimate partner violence (IPV) has been found to be negatively associated with contraceptive use in developing countries, but evidence from Africa is mixed. This study examines whether the above association differs in conflict settings, which have the potential for both higher levels of violence and more limited access to family planning. We use nationally representative data from the Democratic Republic of the Congo to examine the relationship between individual- and community-level IPV and modern contraceptive use, and to explore whether conflict modifies the relationship between IPV and contraceptive use. Nationally, only 6% of women reported current modern contraceptive use, while 53% reported experiencing physical IPV and 32% reported experiencing sexual IPV. In multivariate models, we found that individual-level sexual IPV was positively associated with current using modern contraceptive use, but that a combined measure of physical and sexual IPV did not demonstrate a similar association. Community-level IPV was not associated with individual-level contraceptive use. Conflict exposure was neither an independent predictor nor modifier of contraceptive use. Results suggest improved access to family planning should be a priority for programming in DRC, and efforts should ensure that sufficient resources are allocated towards the reproductive health needs of women in both conflict and non-conflict regions.