Forms and determinants of sexual abuse among female child hawkers in Uyo, Nigeria
Background: Female hawkers are exposed to numerous hazards including sexual abuse. This study aimed at assessing the prevalence, forms and determinants of sexual abuse among female child hawkers in Uyo, Nigeria.
Methods: This was a cross-sectional descriptive study carried out among female child hawkers in Uyo, Nigeria. Data was collected using an interviewer-administered structured questionnaire and was analyzed with IBM SPSS Statistics 20.0 software. Level of significance was set at 0.05.
Result: A total of 172 respondents participated in the study. The mean age was 12.9±2.3 years. School dropout rate was 11.6% among respondents. Commonest reasons for hawking included family support (66.8%), feeding (22.1%) and generating school fees (11.1%). Prevalence of any form of sexual abuse was 76.2%. Forms of sexual abuse reported included verbal abuse (54.1%), inappropriate touching (56.4%), kissing (14.5%), intercourse due to enticement (18.0%) and rape (12.2%). The commonest reason for sexual act among those enticed was monetary gains, (64.5%). Consequences of sexual abuse included STI (13.5%), pregnancy (5.8%) and abortion (5.8%) respectively. Predictors of any form of sexual abuse included being aged 14-17 years (OR =14.70, 95%CI=2.05-105.14, p=0.007), being a dropout (OR=7.37, 95%CI=2.21-24.59, p=0.001) and being from social class V (OR=23.44, 95%CI=1.13-401.67, p=0.031).
Conclusion: There was high prevalence of sexual abuse ranging from inappropriate touching to rape. Predictors of sexual abuse included age, being a dropout and of low socio economic class. Enlightenment campaigns on risks of female child hawking, establishment of skill acquisition centres and free education to secondary level are advocated.
Keywords: Female hawkers; Sexual abuse; Rape; Determinants; Uyo; Nigeria