ONE in every five Filipino women aged 15 to 49 had experienced physical violence since age 15, according to the 2008 National Demographic and Health Survey (NDHS) conducted by the National statistics Office (NSO).

Based on the survey, women with no education (26 percent) and those who have reached only primary education (27 percent) are almost twice as likely as women who have college or higher education (14 percent) to have experienced physical violence.

Also, women in poor households are more likely to report having experienced physical violence than those in wealthier households.

The survey also showed that the percentage of the poorest women (29 percent for those in the lowest wealth quintile and 26 percent for those in the second to the lowest wealth quintile) who have experienced physical violence is more than twice that of the wealthiest women (12 percent).

In the 2008 NDHS, physical violence was measured using women’s responses on whether they were ever pushed, slapped, hit, kicked, burned or hurt in any way physically since they were 15 years old.

The questions were asked with reference to the husband for women currently married; the last husband for women who were separated, widowed, or divorced; and for any boyfriend, dating partner or other persons for women who had never been married.

More than one-third (37 percent) of divorced, separated or widowed women have experienced physical violence, implying that domestic violence could be the reason for separation or divorce.

Meanwhile, 22 percent of married women and 11 percent of never married women have experienced physical violence.

The survey showed that current husbands or partners are the most commonly cited perpetrators of physical violence among the married women while mothers or step-mothers for the never married women.

The 2008 NDHS also investigated women’s experience on sexual violence. The

respondents were asked the question “At any time in your life, as a child or as an adult, has anyone ever forced you in any way to perform any sexual acts against your will?”

Respondents who said “yes” were then asked the question about the person who committed the act. Nine percent of them had experienced sexual violence.

The survey showed that women who are employed, those who are divorced, separated, or widowed, and those living in rural areas are more likely to have experienced sexual violence.

The chance of experiencing sexual violence is also greater for poorer women and women with less education. Among married women, their current husbands or partners are the main perpetrators while among the never married, their current boyfriends.

The 2008 NDHS is a nationally-represented survey of almost 14,000 households and 14,000 women aged 15 to 49 conducted from August 7 to September 27, 2008. It is the ninth in a series of demographic surveys undertaken by the NSO at five-year intervals since 1968.