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DIFFERENTIAL GENDER PERCEPTION OF SEXUAL ABUSE AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

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DIFFERENTIAL GENDER PERCEPTION OF SEXUAL ABUSE AMONG ADOLESCENTS IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS

 

ABSTRACT

The study investigated the differential gender perception of sexual abuse among adolescents in secondary schools. Experimental design was used in order to assess the opinions of the respondent with the use of questionnaire to deduce responses from the participants. One hundred and twenty (120) students were selected randomly from three senior secondary schools in the Local government of the study. The instrument utilized for the study was Self designed Questionnaire. Five hypotheses were postulated and tested in the study, using the independent t-test for hypothesis one and hypothesis three, while hypotheses two was analyzed with analysis of variance, while four and five were tested using the Pearson Product Moment Correlation Co-efficient tool at 0.05 level of significance . At the end of the analysis, the following results emerged: Hypothesis one revealed the  that there was significant difference between family conflicts and sexual abuse; Hypothesis two revealed that therewas significant relationship between Policies, Family environments and sexual abuse;Hypothesis three revealed that there is no significant difference between anxieties by adolescents and sexual abuse; and Hypothesis four revealed that there was significant relationship between groups by adolescents and sexual abuse; while Hypothesis five revealed that there was significant relationship between sexuality educations acquired by adolescents and sexual abuse. Based on the findings of the study, the following recommendations among others were forwarded that government should create awareness of sexuality education and danger involved in any one who is been caught in sexual abuse. More so, Government should also employ those that study sexuality education and competent in the field of sexuality education. Hence, it is suggested that similar research with relevant research methodology should be used in carrying out research in other states of the federation to ascertain the degree of conformity which this research have on sexual abuse and sexuality education of adolescents of all senior secondary school students in Nigeria.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Over the last three decades, researchers, clinicians, and other health advocates have explored the incidence, prevalence, and consequences of sexual violence occurring within the context of domestically violent relationships, including adult marital and cohabiting relationships. Until recently, sexually based crimes occurring within adolescent acquaintance and dating relationships have gone largely unnoticed (Wordes& Nunez, 2002). In fact, most research, education, and preventative measures with adolescent populations have largely been related to sexual violence perpetrated by a parent or caregiver ( Stufflebeam, D. L. 2003). However, increased inquiry into rape and sexual assault among our nation's youth, such as the National Council on Crime and Delinquency's review of victimization of teenagers (Wordes& Nunez, 2002) and the U.S. Department of Justices' (USDOJ) evaluation of Sexual Victimization of College Women (Fisher, Cullen, and Turner, 2000), has focused attention on the nature and consequences of sexual violence occurring within our adolescent population. This attention has resulted in the inclusion of two Healthy People 2010 objectives that relate specifically to reducing rape, attempted rape, and sexual assault among children and adolescent in Nigeria.

The World Health Organization  (WHO), in the World Report on Violence and Health (Krug, Dahlberg, Mercy, Zwi, & Lozano, 2002), defined sexual violence as: Any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a persons sexuality using coercion, by any person, regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work. Sexual violence may include attempted and/or completed rape, sexual coercion and harassment, sexual contact with force or threat of force, and threat of rape (Fisher, Cullen, and Turner, 2000; WHO, 2002). According to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), adolescents are more likely to experience sexually violent crimes than any other age group (AAP, 2001). In fact, greater than half of all victims of sexual crimes, including rape and sexual assault, are women under the age of 25 years. The National Crime Victim Survey (2000) noted that adolescent females age 16-19 are four times more likely than the general population to report sexual assault, rape, and attempted rape. Often this violence occurs within the context of dating or acquaintance relationships, with the female partner the likely victim of violence and the male partner the likely perpetrator.  However, other forms of sexual violence occurring among our nations youth, including sexual violence in gay and lesbian relationships, sexual violence perpetrated as hate crimes, and sexual violence as a form of hazing, while not included in this review, should not be disregarded. 

Sexual abuse experienced in childhood or adolescence is a developmental stressor that can have profound, long-term physiologic and psychosocial effects (Banyard, Williams, & Siegel, 2001; Cicchetti & Rogosch, 2001; DeBellis, 2001). It has been associated with a variety of health-compromising behaviours and health problems, often considered attempts to cope with the trauma engendered by the abuse (Barker & Musick, 1994; Finkelhor & Browne, 1985; Hutchinson & Langlykke, 1997).

Over the last decade, there has been a growing interest in the partnering of adolescent females with older adult males, often referred to as adult-teen sex (Donovan, 1997; Elstein& Davis, 1997; Harner, Burgess, & Asher, 2001; Lindberg, Sonenstein, Ku, and Martinez , 1997.) While most adult women do partner with slightly older males, application of this social norm to adolescent females has been linked to an increased risk for victimization, including physical and sexual violence. Furthermore, imbalances in power and control, financial resources, levels of life experience, and even physical strength and stature may place younger females partnered with adult males at risk for experiencing unplanned and unprotected sex, unwanted pregnancy, and exposure to sexually transmitted infections, including HIV and AIDS. While partnering with an older male may be considered consensual in nature to the female, her peers, and possibly her family, sexual relationships with significantly older males may meet the legal definition of statutory rape. As such, several teen advocacy and pregnancy prevention programs have called for increased utilization of existing statutory rape laws to aid in the prosecution and punishment of adult men who have sex with adolescent females (Harner, Burgess, & Asher, 2001).

1.2       Theoretical framework

Bowen Theory

 Bowen's family systems theory (shortened to 'Bowen theory' from 1974) was one of the first comprehensive theories of family systems functioning (Bowen, 1966, 1978, Kerr and Bowen, 1988). It continues to be a central influence in the practice of family therapy.  It is possible that some local family therapists have been influenced by many of Bowen's ideas

Bowen family systems theory is a theory of human behavior that views the family as an emotional unit and uses systems thinking to describe the complex interactions in the unit. It is the nature of a family that its members are intensely connected emotionally. Often people feel distant or disconnected from their families, but this is more feeling than fact. Family members so profoundly affect each other's thoughts, feelings, and actions that it often seems as if people are living under the same "emotional skin." People solicit each other's attention, approval, and support and react to each other's needs, expectations, and distress. The connectedness and reactivity make the functioning of family members interdependent. A change in one person's functioning is predictably followed by reciprocal changes in the functioning of others. Families differ somewhat in the degree of interdependence, but it is always present to some degree. Eight interlocking concepts make up Bowen's theory.

Justification of Bowen theory

Adolescence is a stage of storm and stress; boys and girls are into rape due to the unequal before the law of the land. There should be right to speak out to the necessary authorities if rape incident occurs, regardless of power and personality. If things are all equal, the way you treat a rich man victim and a poor man victim, the rate of the perpetrators will significantly reduce.

Besides, counsellors, teachers and significant others should try to apply different mechanism to reduces the rate of rape in the society and to treat everybody equal before the law.

1.2       Statement of the problem

Sexual violence is often referred to as a "hidden" crime (CDC, 2000) or a "silent epidemic" as rape and sexual assault frequently go unreported to the police and other authorities (Abbey, Zawacki, Buck, Clinton, & Mcauslan, 2001). In fact, according to the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (2001), less than 15% of rapes are ever reported. This has been a concern for the researcher to dwell on the study.

Adolescents also may minimize sexually violent behaviours or may not perceive the sexual act as a crime and thus, not report sexual abuse case. Fisher, Cullen, and Turner (2000) noted that among college women who described experiencing a sexual act meeting the legal definition of rape, less than half (46.5%) personally defined the experience as rape. This may be due to several factors, including denial, sexual inexperience, guilt, previous victimization, and acceptance of traditional sex-role stereotypes. Furthermore, the misperception that visible injuries and physical trauma are always present after assault may cause some adolescents, especially those with minimal physical injuries, to not identify as a victim. This gives the researcher so much concern and if probably to design a paradigm to follow when adolescent is sexually abused.

Fear may also significantly impact an adolescent's likelihood of reporting sexual abuse case. Among college age women, Fisher, Cullen, and Turner (2000) noted that 95% of rapes were not reported to the police. While two-thirds of the victims did tell someone about the assault, such as a friend, family member, or college official, victims cited fear that they would be treated hostility by the police (24.7%) and fear of reprisal by the assailant or others (39.5%) as factors influencing their decision not to report the crime. Fear may be a significant barrier to reporting when the perpetrator is a fellow classmate or peer with whom the victim must interact on a regular basis.

Characteristics of the abuse experience have also been shown to differ for girls and boys. It was found that the estimated percentage of male victims’ perpetrators who are themselves male ranges from 18 to 97, depending on the study, and that the estimated percentage of male perpetrators for female victims ranges from 80 to 100 ( Dhaliwal, 1996).

Though most investigations regarding sexual violence occurring among adolescents target college-age populations, there is growing evidence that sexual violence in dating and acquaintance relationships may occur among much younger populations (Beyer &Ogletree, 1998). In 1998 the Centers for Disease Control and Preventions National Violence Against Women Survey, which explored the incidence and prevalence of both intimate partner violence and sexual violence, noted that one out of every six women has been the victim of rape or attempted rape by the age of 18 (Tjaden and Thoennes, 1998). Almost one-third (32%) of these assaults took place between the ages of 12 and 17 years.

Fear may also significantly impact an adolescent's likelihood of reporting sexual abuse. Among college age women, Fisher, Cullen, and Turner (2000) noted that 95% of rapes were not reported to the police. While two-thirds of the victims did tell someone about the assault, such as a friend, family member, or college official, victims cited fear that they would be treated hostility by the police (24.7%) and fear of reprisal by the assailant or others (39.5%) as factors influencing their decision not to report the crime. Fear may be a significant barrier to reporting when the perpetrator is a fellow classmate or peer with whom the victim must interact on a regular basis. 

This is a problem to the society because the victim that seizes not to report the rape case will be likely to face isolation from his or her peers.

The most common age for sexual abuse to begin is age nine. Most sexual abuse is reported by teenagers, but they have usually been victimized for many years before finally reporting the abuse. Most sexual abuse, particularly that involving a continuing relationship or incest, starts before the child reaches puberty (Daugherty, 2012).

Therefore, considering the gravity of the problem, this study investigates the differential gender perception of sexual abuse among adolescents in secondary schools.

1.3 Purpose of study

The main purpose of the study was to determine the differential gender perception of sexual abuse among adolescents in secondary schools in Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos State. This research specifically seeks to evaluate.

i.                    Whether there is any significant gender difference between family conflicts on sexual abuse among adolescents.

ii.                 Whether there is any significant relationship between family environments on sexual abuse among adolescents.

iii.               Whether there is any significant relationship that exists between anxieties by adolescents on sexual abuse among adolescents.

iv.               Whether there is any significant relationship that exists between peer group on sexual abuse among adolescents.

v.                  Whether there is any significant relationship that exists between sexuality education on sexual abuse among adolescents.

1.4  Research Questions

i.                    What are the factors that can influence gender and family conflicts on sexual abuse among adolescents?

ii.                 What are the recommendations that can be appropriate to help formulate policies that effectively influence family environments and sexual abuse among adolescents?

iii.               Is there any significant relationship that exists between anxieties by adolescents on sexual abuse among adolescents?

iv.               Is there any significant relationship that exists between peer groups on sexual abuse among adolescents?

v.                  Is there any significant relationship that exists between sexuality educations on sexual abuse among adolescents?

1.5  Research Hypothesis

i.                    There is no significant gender influence that exists between family conflicts on sexual abuse among adolescents.

ii.                 There is no significant relationship between appropriate policies that effectively influence family environments and sexual abuse among adolescents.

iii.               There is no significant relationship that exists between anxieties by adolescents on sexual abuse among adolescents.

iv.               There is no significant relationship that exists between peer groups on sexual abuse among adolescents.

v.                  There is no significant relationship that exists between sexuality educations on sexual abuse among adolescents.

1.6  Significance of study

This study is of immense value to the researcher as a student of Master of Guidance and counselling. It will enable him to understand and appreciate the issues and problems involved in sexual abuse. The emotional, social and physical development of adolescents has a direct effect on their overall development and on the adult they will become. That is why we have to understanding the need to invest in adolescents is so important, so as to maximize their future well-being. Thus, the importance of this study lies in its ability to bring out factors that influence, as well as factors that can hinder sexuality education and development in adolescents.

Also, the government especially at the federal level will through this study understand that budgetary allocations given to education is inadequate and may have a change of policy or a rethink on the issue of budgeting allocation to education in Nigeria. The study was an important reference material to new researchers, students and the general public as well.

1.7  Scope of the Study

The study covered differential gender perception of sexual abuse among adolescents in secondary schoolsin Ikorodu Local Government Area of Lagos.

1.8  Limitation of the Study

Health challenges and sourcing of good materials posed as hindrance to the timely completion of this study.

1.9  Operational Definition of Terms

Gender Difference: This is a male and female view towards event or behaviour.

Adolescent: WHO (1989) defines an adolescent as any person between ages 10 and 19

Sexual Abuse: This is the event by boy or girl in sexual act.

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