Nature of child sexual abuse in Ng’ombe compound of Lusaka, Zambia.
Maimbolwa, Situmbeko Matale
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The present study sought to establish perceptions of parents and pupils on the nature of child sexual abuse in Ng’ombe Compound of Lusaka District in Zambia and use the findings to come up with measures to mitigate the vice.. A case study design was used and sample size of 41 (made up of 20 parents, 20 pupils and I VSU officer) was engaged and data was collected using qualitative method. An interview guide was used for the pupils and the VSU officer while a FGD guide was used with parents. The discussions were recorded using an audio recorder. Notes from the interview guide were read through, organised across strata to get the emerging themes. The recorded tapes were transcribed first, then cleaned and eventually organised thematically in line with the objectives. The findings were that CSA was a real problem which affects mainly the girl child and usually took the form of penetrative sex. The perpetrators were said to be usually people known to the child or family and neighbours. Cases involving family members were rarely reported to the police as families chose to settle them at home. On the other hand, it was observed that some victims do not report the abuse to their parents for fear of being blame and accused of being responsible for the abuse. The other reason for not informing the parents was that the perpetrators usually threated to kill the victim and her/his parents if ever she/he revealed the abuse. On the question of what contributes to CSA in the area, the findings were that it was perpetuated by the belief that sex with a minor cures AIDS without infecting the minor and that sex with a minor made one’s business to flourish. The other findings were that use of alcohol which impairs judgement put children at high risk of being abused. Lack of privacy for the girls whose families live in small houses was also seen as a cause as it tended to put the girls at risk, the dress code of minis and tight fits on the part of girls gave the impression to the men that the girls were dressing in such a manner to attract them. Other factors were lust and lack of self-control on the part of men and poverty which caused parents to send their girl children to go and exchange sex for money at night. On the other hand it was said that some girls engaged in transactional sex in order to buy the latest fashion and other necessities. On the question of measures to reduce the vice, the suggestions were that the penalty for CSA must be made stiffer and the custodial sentences longer, that all cases must be reported to law enforcers and anyone that tries to settle the case outside the law should face prosecution. In addition, communities must be educated on the dangers of CSA on the victim and that CSA must be incorporated in the school curriculum from Grade 1 to 12. Blaming the victim for the abuse is deepening the secrecy surrounding CSA. Abuse involving family members is traumatic to the victim who is supposed to be protected by the same people that are abusing him/her. The study recommended that there was need to discuss CSA in homes and communities in order to sensitise stakeholders and overcome negative and erroneous perceptions. CSA affects both the victim and his/her family, therefore, there is need to implement measures aimed at reducing the scourge.
The University of Zambia