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Community Attitudes towards Child Sexual Abuse: A Case of Chawama Lusaka, Zambia

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DOI: 10.4236/ojpsych.2020.101004    138 Downloads   331 Views


Background: Child sexual abuse continues to be an issue of great concern and recognized as a public health problem in Zambia. Hence the study examined community attitudes and beliefs that shape communities perceptions towards child sexual abuse, the interaction between adults and children which consequently hinder reporting of child sexual abuse cases. Methods: A qualitative study design was employed. Nine focus group discussions (FGD) with 49 participants comprising 5 to 6 participants in each FGD and nine indepth interviews guided by an interview guide were used to collect data. Participants were selected using purposive sampling. The collected data were transcribed verbatim and analyzed using thematic analysis. Results: Two major themes namely: 1) Defilement, an unacceptable yet concealed phenomenon, and 2) Parental negligence as a major contributor to child sexual abuse, emerged from the data. Participants highlighted that communities regarded child abuse to be necessary for reported only if the abused child was less than 5 years old, a female, and if the trauma the child was subjected to was severe. This was because older girls were seen to be able to have consensual sex, and boys were traditionally viewed as being strong and thus, not report most cases. Parents were also seen to be losing control over their children as most of them were involved in excessive alcohol intake, leading to failure in managing their children. Poverty was another aspect reported to have led parents to send their children into prostitution. As a result parents could not report, as they felt they partly contributed to their children being sexually abused. Conclusion/Recommendations: The study showed that communities do not accept child sexual abuse, but yet they were reluctant to report the cases. It is imperative therefore, that communities learn the importance of reporting sexual abuse cases; as failure to report is risky behavior that can put the abused child and others at risk of other negative vices too.

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Chitundu, K. , Mwape, L. and Kwaleyela, C. (2020) Community Attitudes towards Child Sexual Abuse: A Case of Chawama Lusaka, Zambia. Open Journal of Psychiatry, 10, 25-37. doi: 10.4236/ojpsych.2020.101004.

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