258544 Forced sex and mental health outcomes among lesbian and bisexual women in Southern Africa

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Theo G. M. Sandfort, PhD , Division of Gender, Sexuality, & Health, New York State Psychiatric Institute and Columbia University, New York, NY
Linda Baumann , Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) advocating for constitutional rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and In, Out Right Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia
Zethu Matebeni , Institute for Humanities in Africa, HUMA, University of Capetown, Rondebosch, South Africa
Vasu Reddy , Human and Social development, HSRC, Pretoria, South Africa
Vicci Tallis , HIV/AIDS, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa
Ian Southey-Swartz , LGBTI Special Initiative, Open Society Initiative for Southern Africa, Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa
M. Somjen Frazer, MLitt , Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
The Southern African Lesbian and Bisexual Women Research Team , Human and Social development, c/o Vasu Reddy, HSRC, Pretoria, South Africa
There is an emerging research literature on forced sex in Southern Africa and some anecdotal and human rights accounts of “corrective rape” (use of forced sex by men to try to “convert” lesbian women into heterosexual women). However, no previous quantitative research has addressed the prevalence and effects of forced sex among Southern African lesbian, bisexual and women who partner with women (LBWSW). This community based participatory research (CBPR), four country (Botswana, Namibia, South African and Zimbabwe) study of 591 (LBWSW) found that 31.1 percent of women had experienced forced sex, 14.9 percent by men only, 6.6 percent by women only and 9.6 percent by both women and men. In multivariate regression, experiences with forced sex were positively related with STI symptoms (Beta=.158, p<.001), drinking problems (Beta =.194, P<.001), drug use (OR=1.828, p<.003), and mental distress (Beta =.205, p<.001), and negatively with sense of belonging (Beta=.097, p=.027), LGBT sense of belonging (Beta=.084, p<.054)). Having had forced sex by women had a particular negative effect on drinking problems (Beta =.196, p<.001) and drug use (Beta =.082, p=.022) compared with forced sex by men or both. Forced sex by men had a particular negative impact on mental distress (Beta=.152, p<.001). These findings suggest a need for programs to prevent forced sex among LBWSW as well as services that are sensitive to the for survivors' identities, differing experiences and effects of forced sex and their specific psychological and substance abuse counseling needs.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
To describe the prevalence and character of of experiences of forced sex by women, men and both among Southern African lesbian, bisexual and women who partner with women.

Keywords: Sexual Assault, Lesbian Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I conducted all preliminary and final data analysis for this paper.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.