Sexual Assault: Pattern and Related Complications among Cases Managed in Jimma University Specialized Hospital
Background: Sexual assault affects one out of every five women, and it is a substantial public health and human rights problem in developing countries including Ethiopia. There has not been a study which documented the extent of the problem in the study area; hence the objective of this study was to assess the pattern of sexual assault and related complications in cases which were treated at Jimma University Specialized Hospital from November 1, 2011 – October 31, 2012.
Methods: A hospital based cross-sectional descriptive study was conducted with the aim of assessing sexual assault patterns and related complications on 99 sexual assault cases which were managed at the Gynecology Out-patient Department of the Hospital. Data on circumstances of sexual assault, survivor specific demographic characteristics and information on complications and interventions provided were collected by trained third year residents in obstetrics and gynecology using pretested questionnaire after respondent consent was taken. The collected data was cleaned, edited, fed into computer and analyzed using SPSS for windows version 16.0.
Results: The mean (±SD) of the survivors’ age was 14 (±5) years; 57.5% of the survivors were children and 68.7% were from rural areas. Three percent of the clients visited the Gynecology Outpatient Department for sexual assault where rape accounted for 78.8%. The majority (76.8%) of the assailants was known to the survivors, 91% were assaulted by one assailant and 5.1% of the rape cases were gang rape. The mean time of presentation after sexual assault to the hospital was 15 days. Survivors had pregnancy test, HIV test and screening for sexually transmitted infections in 76.8%, 99%, 93% respectively of which 17.1%, 5.1%, 14.1% tested positive for pregnancy, HIV, and some STIs respectively. All HIV positive survivors were children under fifteen years of age. Forty percent of the survivors were provided with emergency contraception. In addition, 60.5%, 63%, and 91.9% of them were provided with post-exposure prophylaxis for HIV, STIs prophylaxis and were given counseling respectively.
Conclusion: It has been revealed that sexual assault is a major problem of women and children of less than fifteen years. There were gaps in providing and receiving packages of care and justice system to protect survivors indicating the needs for community intervention and providing quality of care by health care staff.
Keywords: Sexual assault, assailant, survivors, rape, attempted rape, sexual abuse