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Sexual violence among female high school students in Debark, northwest Ethiopia

A. Worku
M. Addisie


Objectives: To assess the prevalence, outcome and awareness of sexual violence among high school female students.

Design: A school-based cross-sectional survey.

Setting: Debark Town, north-west Ethiopia.

Subjects: Two hundred and sixteen female high school students, grade 9-11 were included for the quantitative study. For the qualitative data, 16 individuals for the focus group discussion (10 well-recognised female figures in the town and six high school students) and head of the police department for in-depth interview were enrolled.

Results: Sixty two per cent of the respondents had heard of sexual violence committed on young females. Sexual violence was reported by 65.3% of the respondents. The prevalence of performed and attempted rape were 8.8% and 11.5%, respectively. The age range of performed rape victims was between 12 and 21 years. Of the 19 (8.8%) who reported rape being performed on them, unwanted pregnancy, suicide attempt, vaginal discharge and abortion were the consequences in 21%, 15.8%, 10.5% and 5.3%, respectively.

Conclusion: Sexual violence is a major public health problem with high rates of underreporting .Sex education should be given on a regular basis and policy making bodies and the police be well aware of this high magnitude and take strong measures to reduce it.

(East African Medical Journal: 2002 79(2): 96-99)

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eISSN: 0012-835X