Sexual abuse of the girl-child in urban Nigeria and implications for the transmission of HIV/AIDS
The special circumstances in which girl-children (i.e. child labour and residency in overcrowded housing units) find themselves in urban Nigeria expose them to possible risks of physical, psychological and sexual abuse, which in turn increase their vulnerability to early pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases and AIDS. The importance of sexual abuse of the girl-child in urban Nigeria as a subject of enquiry can not be over-emphasised. While opinion is undivided on the socio-medical and psychological consequence of child sexual abuse, there are nevertheless, divergent explanations for the changing sexual mores in Africa. This study thus provides an analysis of the scope and determinants of child sexual abuse in Nigeria. The study was qualitative utilising Focus Group Discussions (FGD) and In-depth interviews (IDIs) to collect information from young girls and key-informants in Ibadan. It involved respondents from the three major socio-cultural groups namely Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo.. Findings show that the concept of sexual abuse as understood by the respondents encapsulated many other behaviour other than sexual intercourse between an old male and a young girl, and that it is very wide in scope. Urban poverty was found to be the major determinant of sexual abuse. Although, no case of HIV/AIDS arising from sexual abuse was found, however, some victims complained of health problems such as sexually transmitted infections.