Sexual Abuse Among Adolescents


  • IB Udigwe
  • OC Ofiaeli
  • JC Ebenebe
  • CA Nri-Ezedi
  • VC Ofora
  • EI Nwaneli



Abuse, Adolescent, Knowledge, Nigeria, Sexual abuse, Sexual assault


Background: Adolescence constitutes a vulnerable age group where the actual prevalence of sexual abuse may remain largely unknown due to lack of knowledge, delay in and lack of reporting of such incidences.

Objectives: To determine the knowledge and history of sexual abuse in adolescents and the associated factors. 

Methods: A self-administered pretested questionnaire was used to collect data from children aged 10 to 19 years at an adolescent summer camp. 

Results: Two hundred and seventy-six adolescents participated in this research out of which 41.3% had correct knowledge of sexual abuse, and 12.0% claimed they had been sexually abused.  Among the 33 respondents with a history of sexual abuse, 39.4% (13/33) had correct knowledge of sexual abuse.  Gender had a significant association with a history of sexual abuse (p = 0.008). Layered by age group, gender had a significant association with being sexually abused in mid-adolescence (p = 0.029) but not in late adolescence (p = 0.445). Age category had no significant association with being sexually abused.

Conclusion: The knowledge of sexual abuse was inadequate among adolescents. A high proportion claimed to have been previously sexually abused and interestingly, had insufficient knowledge of sexual abuse There is a need to educate adolescents on sexual abuse to empower them to protect themselves and get help as appropriate.


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