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[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Who is to blame? Community attitudes about coerced sex in rural Kenya

Paula Tavrow, PhD1, Albert Obbuyi2, and Vidalyne Omollo2. (1) Department of Community Health Sciences, University of California at Los Angeles, School of Public Health, Box 951772, Los Angeles, CA 90095-1772, 310-794-4302, ptavrow@ucla.edu, (2) Ministry of Education, Youth for Youth Program, Box 40, Bungoma, Kenya

In surveys, about 15-30% of African girls report that they were coerced into having sexual intercourse. One hypothesized explanation for the high, largely unprosecuted rate of coerced sex is that community members--including perhaps young women themselves--blame the victim, thereby minimizing consequences to the perpetrator. During a 2005 evaluation of an adolescent reproductive health program in Bungoma district of Western Kenya, 22% (139/619) of school girls reported on an anonymous, self-administered questionnaire that they had been coerced into sex. For the evaluation, 31 focus groups (of 310 people altogether) were conducted with male students, female students, peer educators, parents, teachers, church leaders and health providers. The majority of focus group participants were inclined to blame the girl for being raped. The main reasons given for blaming girls were: her provocative clothing; her provocative behavior; that she voluntarily put herself in danger; her failure to protest or scream or report; and her acceptance of gifts or services. The main reasons for not blaming girls were: she wasn't looking for sex; boys or men can behave badly especially when intoxicated or high; and she was helpless or ignorant. Several adult participants felt it was not possible for a girl to be raped by one man alone. Adults, particularly teachers, were more likely than youths to believe that girls should be blamed. Only primary school girls did not think that rape was justifiable in some circumstances. The implications of these findings for youth gender violence prevention programs in Africa are discussed.

Learning Objectives: At the conclusion of the session, the participant will be able to

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Any relevant financial relationships? No

[ Recorded presentation ] Recorded presentation

Community and Clinic: Cultural and Institutional Influences on Gender-Based Violence

The 134th Annual Meeting & Exposition (November 4-8, 2006) of APHA