Acta Scientific Paediatrics (ISSN: 2581-883X)

Research Article Volume 3 Issue 3

Sexual Abuse Amongst Secondary School Students in Port Harcourt, South-South Nigeria: A Rising Public Health Menace, Factors and Implications

Joyce Okagua* and Balafama A Alex- Hart

Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Nigeria

*Corresponding Author: Joyce Okagua, Department of Paediatrics, University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, Nigeria.

Received: February 06, 2020; Published: February 11, 2020


Background: Child sexual abuse has been implicated in most of adult psychopathologies including depression, post-traumatic stress disorders, eating disorders and even suicide. However, it remains a hidden truth due to stigmatization and cultural expectations in our environment.

Objective: To determine the prevalence of sexual abuse and determine the factors associated with sexual abuse amongst secondary school students in Port Harcourt, South-South Nigeria. 

Method: This study was a cross sectional study amongst secondary school students conducted in Port Harcourt from September to December 2018. A structured, self-administered questionnaire was distributed to 1162 secondary school students from 6 public secondary schools selected through Multistage Sampling technique. Questions asked covered socio-demographics, knowledge on sexual abuse, exposure to different forms of sexual abuse, age at first abuse, gender of perpetrator and consequence of the abuse. Data was analyzed using SPSS version 21. 

Results: One thousand one hundred and sixty-two students were recruited in the study. There were 590 females and 572 males giving a male to female ratio of 1: 1.1. They were aged 10 – 20 years with a mean age of 14. 8 ± 2.1 years. Overall, 422 (38.9%) of the subjects had experienced at least one or more forms of sexual abuse whilst 710 (61.1%) had never. Of these, 234 (51.8%) were females whilst 218 (48.2%) were males, however, this gender difference was not statistically significant (χ2 = 0.3, p = 0.588). 146 (32.4%) of these abuses were by exposure to pornographic pictures and movies, 136 (30.1%) were by using an object or his or her fingers into their anus or vagina, whilst 48 (10.6%) was by forceful sexual intercourse with penetration. Majority (41.9%) of the sexual abuse were first experienced between ages 8 – 12 years and dropped at ages 15 – 16 years. Three hundred and fifty-two (77.9%) of the subjects were abused by male perpetrators whilst 100 (22.1%) were by female perpetrators. This gender difference was statistically significant ((χ2 = 74.2, p = 0.000). Of these perpetrators, 61% were persons known to the subjects and only (16%) were strangers. 

Conclusion: The prevalence of sexual abuse and forceful penetration of 38.9% and 10.6% respectively found in this study is high, with a changing pattern of an increasing male prevalence. Sexual education should be inculcated into the School Health Programme in the foundation school years with a mandatory reporting system in order to educate and protect these adolescents both in school and at home.

Keywords: Sexual Abuse; Secondary School; Factors; Southern Nigeria



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Citation: Joyce Okagua and Balafama A Alex- Hart. “Sexual Abuse Amongst Secondary School Students in Port Harcourt, South-South Nigeria: A Rising Public Health Menace, Factors and Implications”. Acta Scientific Paediatrics 3.3 (2020): 01-06.

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