An ethnic comparison of intimate partner violence among Ecuadorian women of reproductive-age

Marlene Lara, University of Texas at El Paso


Background: Afro-Ecuadorian and Indigenous women in Ecuador are ethnic minorities that may be at a greater risk of intimate partner violence (IPV) and adverse physical, sexual, and psychological health outcomes compared to Mestizo/White majority women. Prior studies have suggested factors such as SES, age, marriage, marital status, prior history of abuse and violence, attitudes regarding IPV, and alcohol and/or drug use are associated to IPV. Aims: The aim of this secondary analysis was to compare IPV prevalence and sociodemographic and health-related correlates by ethnicity (minority versus majority) among Ecuadorian women. Methods: A total of 10,730 Mestizo/White, Indigenous, and Afro-Ecuadorian Ecuadorian women included in the large nationally representative database of ENDEMAIN 2004 (aged 15-49 years) and responded to Mujer de Edad Fértil (MEF), a subsample questionnaire concerning violence against women. Measures collected included ethnicity and other demographic characteristics and the following IPV related measures: past year and lifetime IPV (physical, sexual and psychological), IPV support services, IPV-related injuries, and early life exposure to violence. Descriptive statistics of all categorical measures included frequency and percent. Ethnic differences in measures for IPV were determined with bivariate tests of Pearson’s Chi-Square (?2) and Likelihood Ratio tests then adjusted for demographic characteristics using of multinomial logistic regression with Mestizo/White as a referent category. Results: Among the sample of Ecuadorian women, Mestizo/White (86.7%), Indigenous (9.7%), and Afro-Ecuadorian (3.6%) women observed parent psychological, physical, and both IPV (35%, 32.3% 37.2%) and were mistreated (22.1%, 25.1%, 27.7%) before age 15. Women reported psychological, physical, and sexual IPV in their lifetime (30.8%, 21.7%, 7.8%) and in the past 12 months (11.8%, 7.5%, 2.7%). The adjusted results indicate that, compared to White/Mestizo women, Indigenous minority women had higher rates of psychological (p=0.081; p=0.004) and physical (p=0.031; p<0.001) early life exposure v and mistreatment to IPV. Physical lifetime (p=0.042; p=0.001) and recent (p=0.061; p=0.002) IPV among Indigenous and Afro-Ecuadorian minority women was higher compared to majority Mestizo/White women. Afro-Ecuadorian minority women showed statistically higher rates for injuries (p=0.010) and help-seeking (p=0.001) behaviors compared to majority Mestizo/White women. Discussion: Minority women experience more IPV, IPV-related injuries and less help seeking behaviors compared to Mestizo/White majority women. The findings of this study suggest that there is a need for integrated educational preventive intervention programs, supporting healthcare systems and law enforcement to identify IPV victims to help reduce underreporting of IPV, press charges, and treat injuries. Thus, outreach to these communities through interventions and prevention programs and decreasing barriers of help-seeking services maybe an important factor to further allow a more effective approach towards IPV affected minorities in Ecuador.

Subject Area

Latin American Studies|Public health

Recommended Citation

Lara, Marlene, "An ethnic comparison of intimate partner violence among Ecuadorian women of reproductive-age" (2015). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI10000777.