Leaving a Violent Child Marriage: Experiences of Adult Survivors in Uganda

Esther Nanfuka , Florence Turyomurugyendo, Eric Ochen, Graham Gibbs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Violence against women and girls remains a major public health threat the world over. A significant amount of violence experienced by women is perpetrated by their intimate partners. Moreover, the risk of experiencing intimate partner violence is amplified for women and girls who get married before turning 18. However, there is little documented information on how they escape such violent relationships. This article provides insight into the factors that help survivors of child marriage to leave violent relationships. It is based on in-depth interviews with 26 Ugandan women who married before they were 18. Four main factors helped child marriage survivors to leave violent unions: (1) having a secure base to return to; (2) reaching a tipping point in the relationship; (3) financial independence; and (4) intervention of a significant other. The significance of some factors varied with the age of the survivor at the point of leaving. It is concluded that parental support is a key facilitative factor for leaving violent relationships in the context of child marriage within a low resource setting. Interventions to promote positive parenting may significantly contribute to minimising the proportions of girls trapped in violent unions and incidences of child marriage in the long run.
Original languageEnglish
Article number172
Pages (from-to)1-18
Number of pages18
JournalSocial Sciences
Issue number10
Early online date29 Sep 2020
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2020


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