Adolescents’ disclosure of sexual violence victimization in Nigeria: Prevalence, barriers and mental health implications.

Adolescents’ disclosure of sexual violence victimization in Nigeria: Prevalence, barriers and mental health implications.

Author by Dr. Increase Adeosun

Journal/Publisher: International Neuropsychiatric Disease Journal

Volume/Edition: 4

Language: English

Pages: 153 - 160

Abstract

. Aim: Despite the adverse mental health consequences of sexual violence, the majority of cases are

unreported by victims. Non-disclosure prevents access to appropriate therapeutic and legal

interventions. The design of interventions to facilitate reporting of sexual abuse is hinged on the

recognition of the barriers to reporting. The current study assessed the prevalence of disclosure and

barriers to disclosure among adolescent victims of sexual violence in Lagos, Nigeria.

Study Design and Methodology: Using a cross-sectional study design, self-reported

questionnaires designed to assess sexual violence, disclosure of victimization and barriers to

disclosure were administered to 220 adolescents attending a public co-educational secondary

school in Lagos, south-West Nigeria. The findings are discussed in the context of their mental health

implications.

Results: The mean age of the participants was 15.8 (±1.2) years, and 58.2% were males. Only

9.2% of the victims of sexual violence ever reported to anyone. Frequently reported barriers to

disclosure were stigma (78.9%), consideration of discussion about sex as taboo (73.7%), fear of

parents/ authority figures (76.3%), mistrust of law enforcement agencies (71.1%) and fear of

perpetrators (63.2%). Other reported barriers include ignorance that the act constituted sexual abuse (34.2%),

self-blame/guilt (31.6%) and fear of not being believed (36.8%).

Conclusion: There is an unmet need for interventions to facilitate reporting of sexual violence by

victimized adolescents. Such interventions must address stigma, debunk myth, promote sexual

education and ensure appropriate response of legal and social institutions to victims in order to

restore public confidence


Other Co-Authors