THE INCIDENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AND UNWANTED PREGNANCIES AMONG TEENAGERS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1    BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Sexual abuse is defined as the involvement of dependent, developmentally immature children in sexual activities that they do not fully comprehend and therefore to which they are unable to give informed consent and/or which violates the taboos of society. (McDowell, M. 2002). According to Finkelhor D. (2003). Sexual abuse is any misuse of a child for sexual pleasure or gratification. It has the potential to interfere with a child’s normal, healthy development, both emotionally and physically. Often, sexually victimized children experience severe emotional disturbances from their own feelings of guilt and shame, as well as the feelings which society imposes on them.

Sinal, S. H. (2000), refers to child sexual abuse as any sexual act that occurs between as adult or immediate family member and a child and any non consensual sexual contact between a child and a peer. At the extreme end of the spectrum, sexual abuse includes sexual intercourse and/or its deviations. These behaviours may be the final acts in a worsening pattern of sexual abuse. For this reason and because of their devastating effects, exhibitionism, fondling and any other sexual contact with children are also considered sexually abusive. Sexual abuse of children and teenagers is widespread in virtually all societies. (Population Report, 1999). This increase has posed a problem to the individual, society, government and nation laws generally consider this issue of sexual abuse as an important one.

Globally, both boys and girls can be a victims of sexual abuse, most studies report that the prevalence of abuse among girls is at least 1.5 to 3 times that among boys and sometimes much more (Population Report , 1999). In Nigeria, for example 30% of women and 21% of men reported behaviour constituting sexual abuse in childhood or adolescence. However,  the abuse among boys may be under reported compared with abuse among girls. In this research the researcher place more emphasizing on the sexual abuse affecting the females which leads to unwanted pregnancies sexual abuse can lead to a wide variety of unhealthy consequences, including behavioural and psychological problems, sexual dysfunction, relationship problems, low self-esteem, depression, thoughts of suicide, alcohol and substance abuse and sexual risk taking. Females who are sexually abused in childhood also are at greater risk of being physically and sexually abused as adults. For instance, the incidence of sexual abused in Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono has become so rampant, this lead to the driving desire of the researcher to research on this menace. In most communities of Ikot Ekpeyak every teenage is seen with at least a child or toddler moving along with mother on the way and this leads to various negative effects on the individuals.

The government despite their involvement in eradicating this menace has succeeded in their little way. It is very difficult for most people to talk about sexual abuse and even more difficult for society as a whole to acknowledge that the sexual abuse of children of all ages including infants happens every day in the Nigeria. For example in Eket where we have Mobil Company and white men are working there and at their leisure time they will go around young girls abusing them sexually and at the end it leads to unwanted pregnancies. The researcher’s interest in this topic emanated from personal encounter of so many incidence of sexual abuse in Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono community which leads to unwanted pregnancies on the teenager girls.

1.2    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

The increase sexual abuse on teenagers in Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono community motivated the researcher to study the incidences. The situation leads to unwanted pregnancies among teenagers. The increase of unwanted pregnancies among teenagers in Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono is a menace not only to the community but to the state and the nation as a whole. The course of high incidence of this condition is one of the reasons for the study.

1.3    PURPOSE OF THE STUDY

The purpose of this study is to find out the incidence of sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies in Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono Community.

1.4    OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The following objectives were formulated to help the researcher in this study:

1.  To identify the incidence of sexual abuse on the teenagers in Ikot Ekpeyak Community.

2.  To find out number of unwanted pregnancies from January 2001 to December, 2005.

3.  To identify the parental economic background with highest incidence of sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancy.

4.  To find out which level of education the parents of girls with the highest incidence of sexual abuse and teenage pregnancy belong from January, 2001 to December2005.

1.5    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The study will help the government to adopt a national policy on adolescent health, the need for advocate commitment and collaboration with other agencies to ensure effective implementation. This study will help the teenagers of Ikot Ekpeyak, Ikono to get enlightened and also protect themselves from sexual abuse. To help develop socially responsible telecommunication programme that depicts equitable and non violent relationships between and women. Finally, the study is recommended to other student nurses who would want to use this research work for further investigation.

1.6    RESEARCH QUESTION(S) / HYPOTHESIS

The researcher asked four research question as follows:

1.  How many teenagers from Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono were sexually abused from January, 2001 – December, 2005?

2.  How many cases of unwanted pregnancies occurred in Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono from January 2001 to December 2005?

3.  Do you think highest incidence were found among parent of low economic status?

4.  Was the highest incidence found among illiterate parents?

1.7    SCOPE/LIMITATION OF THE STUDY

The scope of the research covers males and females within age bracket of 15-49 years in Ikot Ekpeyak community.

LIMITATION

The following limitations were encountered during the course of the study.

TEENAGER’S RESPONSE WAS POOR: During the interview they refused to give correct answers to question asked while some refused to respond.

TIME / FINANCE: The time limit for the study was short and there was no money to cover all the area expected in terms of transportation even with the limitations the results obtained were satisfactory.

1.9    OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Incidence: The number of cases of sexual abuse and unwanted pregnancies in Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono from January 2001 to December, 2005.

Sexual Abuse: Is any misuse of child or teenagers for sexual pleasure or gratification and without their consent.

UNWANTED PREGNANCY:  Is a conception that occurs to teenagers in Ikot Ekpeyak Ikono who is not ready for the up keep of the child.

TEENAGERS: A young girl in her teen between the age of 9 – 18 years who is not yet married.

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