Factors influencing self-disclosure of abuse among boys and girls: a study of victims associated with Young Women Christian Association

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Malambo, Margaret Mpemba
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The University of Zambia
The prevalence of child sexual abuse continues to be a major public health problem worldwide. Recent international studies shows that between 8 – 31% of girls and 3-17% of boys experience childhood sexual abuse. While most of the research has concentrated on determining the magnitude of child sexual abuse in Zambia, very few studies have been done on factors that influence self-disclosure of abuse among young people. The aim of this study was to assess factors which influence self-disclosure of abuse among boys and girls in Lusaka. The objectives of the study were: to explore the nature and experiences of abuse suffered by boys and girls; to identify factors which influence self-disclosure of abuse among boys and girls and to assess the strategies used by boys and girls to cope with abuse. These objectives were met by a descriptive study design with both quantitative and qualitative approach. The target population was 150 which consisted of victims of sexual abuse associated with YWCA. Simple random sampling and purposive sampling was used to select the sample of participants aged between 8-18 years from this population. Questionnaires (60) were administered through personal interviews which consisted of mainly closed-ended questions. In-depth interviews (13) were conducted to answer open-ended questions. The quantitative data was analysed using statistical package for social sciences (SPSS) and qualitative were grouped in trends and analysed thematically. The results revealed that majority of the participants did not disclose sexual abuse to anyone and that most of them had experienced various forms of sexual abuse with the highest prevalence being vaginal sex. Lack of discussion of sexual issues between children and parents/guardians and the good relationship which the victim enjoyed with perpetrator before abuse were among the factors that influenced self-disclosure of abuse. Results on coping strategies showed positive attitude in using social withdrawal coping strategies and negative attitude in using social support coping strategies. The study concluded that the rate of self-disclosure is low and there are numerous factors that influence it. It is recommended that parents discuss sexual issues with their children. The Government should also release the list of sexual offenders to the public so that community members are aware of sexual offenders living within their community
Child sexual abuse--Zambia