Violence against women in a family also has serious consequences for the children’s growth, health, and survival. Kajsa Åsling Monemi monitored more than 3,000 children in Bangladesh and Nicaragua from the women’s pregnancy tests until the children were two years old.
The study shows that children of women who were exposed to some form of violence had lower birth weights and grew less as infants and toddlers than others. They also got sick more often than other children with diseases like diarrhea and pneumonia.
“Both in Bangladesh and Nicaragua deaths before the age of five were more common among children whose mothers had been exposed to violence than among children of women who had never been subjected to violence,” she reports.
According to the researcher, there are several possible explanations why violence against a mother can affect her children’s health. During pregnancy the fetus grows less, and after birth the mother’s mental health is crucial both for her emotional contact with the children and for her ability to care for the children. What is more, women who have been subjected to violence often have weaker social networks and often lack economic resources to seek medical care for their children, for example. This means that the children’s health is dependent on the economic resources and the protection that the environment can offer.
The researcher concludes that the studies indicate that the health consequences of violence against women within the family in a global perspective are greater than was previously known.
MEDICA.de; Source: Uppsala Universitet