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The influence of familial factors towards the disclosure of child sexual abuse amongst Vhavenda tribe

L.B. Ramphabana
S.F. Rapholo
J.C. Makhubele


Child sexual abuse is a worldwide health and social problem that exists across different cultures. It happens to children of all demographics. It is  difficult for disclosure of child sexual abuse to happen since it often takes place in private spaces. There have not been ample studies amongst Vhavenda tribe which focused intensively on contemporary factors influencing non-disclosure of child sexual abuse. Therefore, the article is based on a study that aimed to investigate the influence of familial factors towards disclosure of child sexual abuse within the context of Vhavenda tribe. In order to attain its aim, the study used the qualitative approach with ethnographic exploratory design. Fifteen (15) Vhavenda caregivers of children were purposively selected, and data was collected through semi-structured interviews which were guided by an interview schedule with open-ended questions. Data was analysed thematically with the assistance of the Nvivo software. The study was guided by both the ecological and socio-cultural theories. It was found that patriarchal practices, the taboo around sexual abuse, the value of family relationships, the role of the perpetrator within the family, family status and secrecy have a big influence in the nondisclosure of child sexual abuse amongst Vhavenda.  Therefore, it is recommended that Vhavenda families should be capacitated about the implications of African values on the disclosure of child sexual abuse and the impact it has on the child victim. These families should also be empowered with skills to necessitate the disclosure of child sexual  abuse thereof.

Keywords: Child, child sexual abuse, disclosure, family, Vhavenda.