What Puts Women at Risk of Violence From Their Husbands? Findings From a Large, Nationally Representative Survey in Turkey

Ilknur Yüksel-Kaptanoǧlu, Ahmet Sinan Türkyilmaz, Lori Heise

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


A large, nationally representative, cross-sectional survey was conducted in Turkey in 2008. In this survey, which used the WHO (World Health Organization) study module on violence, information about lifetime and current violence (past 12 months) was obtained using weighted, stratified, and multistage cluster sampling. This article describes factors associated with physical or sexual violence experienced by ever-married women, aged 15 to 49, from their current or most recent husbands in the 12 months before the survey. Logistic regression analysis is used to describe the risk and protective factors from a considerable range of explanatory variables. The findings confirm that many factors are similar to the experiences of other countries. The physical or sexual violence experienced by ever-married women from their husbands was 15.1%. The violence experienced by women is significantly positively associated with early childhood abuse experiences of both women and their husbands; marriages decided by families or others; husband's behaviors such as drunkenness, adultery, controlling women's behavior, and preventing contact with women's family and friends. The age of the women, their contribution to the household income, support from women's families, women's acceptance of male authority, and nonpartner violence experience as well as regional differentials also affect the risk of violence. No significant associations were found with the employment status of women and men or education difference. This study, as one of the largest surveys ever conducted on the issue of domestic violence using face-to-face interviews, demonstrated how the patriarchal family structure still affects women's lives in Turkey. This is particularly significant, given Turkey's setting between traditional and modern values.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2743-2769
Number of pages27
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number14
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • domestic violence
  • sexual assault

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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