ASSESSING THE FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR SEXUAL ABUSE AS EXPRESSED BY STUDENTS
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Sexual abuse, which may take different forms, has become a major factor causing multiple problems ranging from social, physical, emotional to health related conditions.
Many victims have died in the process while others had developed impaired social relationship.
Upon this backdrop, this study investigated the factors responsible for sexual abuse as expressed by students of Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The simple random sampling technique was employed in selecting the 300 respondents that participated in the study.
The instrument used to gather information for the study was a questionnaire tagged “Factors Responsible for Sexual Abuse Questionnaire (FRSAQ)”.
It consisted of two sections. (A and B) Section A contains items on personal information of respondents while Section B has 20 items on factors responsible for sexual Abuse.
Four null hypotheses were formulated for the study while the data collected were analysed using frequency counts percentages, test and analysis of variance (ANOVA) statistics, all hypotheses were tested at 0.05 level of significance.
The results obtained revealed that sexual abuse occurs because of indiscriminate view of pornographic video and print materials. Indecent dressing is the highest categorized factor that causes sexual abuse. Out of the four hypotheses only one was rejected; thus, gender, religion and age did not influence the expression of the respondents.
However, students from different levels are significantly different in their expression.
Based on the findings of the study, it was recommended that emphasis should be placed on sex education.
Also, various agencies professional bodies, civil society organizations, religions groups and government should actively participate in the campaign against sexual abuse.
Counsellors, especially, should also be fully engaged in the strategies to eradicate sexual abuse.
Background to the Study
The role of women is crucial to the growth and development of any nation and the world in general.
Considering the importance of women as mothers’ breadwinners, teachers, guardians and motherhood in the family, the one will agreed that they deserve respect, recognition and better treatment.
However, the opposite is usually the case. Women are enslaved in a rentless circle of poverty and suffer from neglect, discrimination and exploitation.
They are also subjected to different forms of violence by their male counter-parts (Davies, 1989).
Adeoye (1996) defined violence as the use of force or subtle pressure and unrestrained action in the pursuance of an objective.
He noted that the Nigerian newspapers are replete with news of violence has not excluded women in the smallest measure.
The various forms of violence against women include wife bothering, rape, denial of self expression, female child labour, childhood marriage, female circumcision, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and exploitation, violence by law enforcement agents, negative cultural attitude and degrading traditional practice.
The widow rites and nutritional taboos and denial of female education are also form of violence against women.
According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Administration for children and families (1998), most Americans understand, but not condone, how some forms of sexual abuse occur, it appears almost impossible for them to consent to the idea of sexual abuse.
This is particularly true when the abuser is a parent or family member.
Sexual abuse fuses those areas in which most people still experience discomfort, sexuality, power, gender domination and the horrific exploitation of an innocent child.
Sexual molestation, like so many forms of abuse, wound, not only its victim but the significant others around her. It cuts-through families and communities, destroying trusts and the belief that some things simply do not happen in an enlightened society.
From a general view, one in every four women may experience sexual violence or rape by an intimate partner.
According to Dickson (1998), close to one-third of adolescent girls reported their first sexual experience as being forced; result of sexual abuse. Rape is an unlawful carnal knowledge of a woman or girl without her consent or by force or with consent by means of threats or intimidation of any kind; it could be by fear of harm or false and fraudulent representation (Esen, 1989).
According to Ndagunu (2002), rape is an attempt to lure, coerce or force the opposite sex into sexual relationship through the use of threats.
Therefore, rape is most commonly understood to mean forcing a woman to have sex against her wishes by using physical or psychological force, threat or force, drugs deception, or any combination of these.
Human are naturally endowed with sexual instinct, thus, they want to exhibit sexual behaviour in different ways if not controlled.
According to Esen (1989), rape is one of the violence crimes which subject its victims to physical, emotional and psychological trauma.
It is associated with an increased risk of large range of sexual and reproductive health problems, with both immediate and long–term consequences.
In Nigerian context, rape is viewed under the criminal justice and public order Act 1994 as a sexual intercourse with a man or a woman without his or her consent.
Rape can also affect the social well-being of victims because individuals may be ostracized and stigmatized by their families or other as consequences.
By and large, irrespective of gender, age, social class, ethnic background, sexual orientation, there was a general consensus as to what constitute a general definition of rape.
This definition was firmly focused around the question of consent and applied irrespective of whether subject was female rape or male rape.
The only perceived difference between men and women as victim was that it was assumed that man stood a better chance of depending themselves against an assailant.
The current sentencing guidelines for rape states that when an adult commits rape without any aggravating or mitigating features is not less than five years imprisonment.
Where rape is committed by two men acting together, or by a man who has broken into or otherwise gained access to a place where the victim is living, or by a person who is in a position of responsibility towards the victim, or by a person who abducts the victims and holds her captive, the appropriate sentence is not less than eight years imprisonment.
But if such crime is committed a number of times on different women or girls, a sentence of 15 years imprisonment or more may be appropriate sexual abuse is a form of violence, which is most rampart to woman and children, is an attempt to coerce an unwilling person to unwanted sexual attention (Brande Burg, 1982).
It is the behaviour of individuals who use their powers and position in an organization to exert sexual gratification from their subordinates.
The Australian Institute of Health and welfare provides a useful national definition of sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is any act which exposes a person to or involves an individual in sexual processes beyond his or her understanding or contrary to accepted community standards. (Augus and Woodward, 1995).
Sexual abuse is a sexual act imposed on a victim who lacks emotional, maturational and cognitive development. Authority and power enable the perpetrator, implicitly or directly, to coerce the child into sexual compliance.
The ability to lure a woman into sexual relationship is based upon the all powerful and dominant position of the men or older adolescent perpetrator, which is sharp contrast to the victims age, dependency and subordinate position .
The abuse can be intra-familial, between a woman close family friends or extra-familial and some one out side the close family unit (Unitarian-Universalist Association, 2005 ).
Gibbs and Bathrope (1982) noted that male harassment of female is the most common type of sexual abuse because in most organizational setting majority of the bosses are men and they lure their subordinates which most times leads to rape and this therefore, result in physical and psychological periods to the victims.
Danes (1989) observed that sexual abuse is a global problem that can no longer be ignored or permitted to remain hidden. He noted that victims do not acknowledge such violence when it occurs to them.
They also perpetuate such violence by remaining silent, excusing violence or blaming them selves.
Both women and men may experience sexual harassment, but most targets are women.
It is important to under stand that there is a pervasive belief that woman create their own sexual problems, because “blaming the victim” is a very strong part of our culture’s gender–role ideology.
Also, perpetrators often don’t believe that the target reaction is extreme. Most women and men try to deal with sexual harassment by ignoring it, (Powell, 1991).
But this is seldom effective and can lead to an escalation. Women with higher self-esteem deal with the assertively.
Violence against women also depletes women’s energy and their self-esteem. It is a risk for all children especially girls who grow up with a sense of such vulnerability (Davies, 1989).
Sexual abuse has its effect not holy on the negative but also on the children. In view of the negative impact of sexual abuse on the physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing of woman children and individuals in general.
The researcher therefore set out to investigate the factors responsible for sexual abuse as perceived by students of Federal College of Education, Ogun State.
The study is based on the assumption that majority of the students from federal college of Education, Ogun State are young adolescents whose expressions may adequately represent the most vulnerable group. These students could have experienced sexual abuse, either directly or otherwise.
This therefore qualifies them to be able to give useful information (expression) on the factors responsible for sexual abuse. Livingstone (1982) noted that the effectiveness of any remedial action depends on the extent to which the causal factors of the problem are identified. Hence it is within the purfew of this study that solution will be recommended in order to reduce the menace.
Statement of the Problem
According to Fontana (1981), sexual abuse appears to be increasing and has become a major health problem sexual abuse is a problem in our society today because it has caused a lot of harm to the victims both young and old. It has psychological effect on the victims.
It has also become a problem in the sense that victims suffer serious physical injuries which are inflicted upon them by the perpetrators.
In recent years tertiary institutions could not so much play their traditional roles as citadel of knowledge but only a place of evil deeds, of crimes and crises that have bedeviled the campuses especially the act of sexual abuse (Nosike, 1990).
Sexual abuse has been further classified by practitioners as sexual exploitation, which involves touching the victim and or compelling him/her to observe or be involved in other sexual activity (for example watching pornographic videos, sexual assault, molestation, victimization and rape.
Finkelha (1984) underscored that women become victims of sexual abuse as a result of their fragility and relationship with abuser.
He further estimated that the proportion of persons in the United States that were exposed to some form of sexual abuse was between 9 and 52 percent for females and between 3 and 9 percent for male.
Sexual abuse has been documented as a menace involving women of all ages and status but it is also clear that majority of perpetrators of sexual abuse are men and that the victims are predominantly female (Fonkellor, 1984).
A multi-centre study, led by Trowell and Kolvin (1999), from the Tavistock clinic London, was set up to evaluate the use of psychotherapy with girls aged 65 – 14 years who had been sexually abused.
The key findings were as follows: sexually abused girls who had problems were more affected psychologically, socially and educationally than previously recognized.
There was evidence of post traumatic stress disorder, depression and separation anxiety.
Many of the older women had experienced physical or sexual abuse in their own childhood. Sexual abuse has some long term implications for mental health and this include; psychological symptoms, guilt, low self-esteem, sleep disturbance.
Problem behaviour such as self harm and drug abuse, relationship and sexual problems are resultant effects of sexual abuse.
The available, police data for instance, are often in complete and limited.
Many women do not report incidences of sexual abuse to the police because they are ashamed, or fear or being blamed, not believed, or otherwise mistreated.
The question that often agitates minds of many educationists, school authorities, sociologists, psychological parents is that, why do people commit sexual abuse?
What are the factors responsible for sexual abuse?
The present research therefore was interested in finding out the factors that are responsible for the act of sexual abuse.
This study becomes imperative because.
To the best of the researcher’s knowledge, no previous study has considered the issue, especially in relation to students of Federal College of Education, Ogun State.
This research work intends to investigate the factors responsible for sexual abuse as expressed by students of Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Therefore, the following research questions will be answered in this study:
i. What are the factors responsible for sexual abuse as expressed by students of Federal College of Education, Abeokuta, Ogun State?
ii. Is there any difference in the expression of the factors responsible for sexual abuse among male and female respondents?
iii. Is there any difference in the expression of factors responsible for sexual abuse among respondents on the basis of religion?
iv. Is there any difference in the expression of the factors responsible for sexual abuse among respondents on the basis of study level?
v. Is there any difference in the expression of the factors responsible for sexual abuse among respondents on the basis of age?
The following research hypotheses are formulated for testing in the study:
1. There is no significant difference in the expression of the factors responsible for sexual abuse among male and female students of College of Education, Abeokuta.
2. There is no significant difference in the expression of the factors responsible for sexual abuse among students who are Christians and their Muslim counterparts.
3. There is no significant difference in the expression of the factors responsible for sexual abuse among respondents on the basis of study level.
4. There is no significant difference in the expression of the factors responsible for sexual abuse among respondents on the basis of age.
Purpose of the Study
The main purpose of this study was to find out the factors responsible for sexual abuse as expressed students of Federal College of Education, Ogun State.
This was done by using a questionnaire titled “Factors responsible for sexual abuse questionnaire”.
It was administered to 200 respondents (students) of College of Education, Ogun State. The questionnaire is geared towards gathering relevant data that will help the investigation to get an idea of the analysis.
The study equally provided suggestions that would help to significantly reduce sexual abuse.
Significance of the Study
One of the most popular social problems plaguing the Nigerian society today is sexual abuse.
This problem has become public focus because of the seriousness and the seemingly wide spread nature of the problem as well as the increased attention given to it by the media. This problem therefore, calls for urgent solution since a society succeeds or fails in direct proportion to the way it enhances or impedes the development of its women.
The study therefore could be of help to the government, social welfare, workers, parents, educationists, legal practitioners, counsellors and the medical personnel in doing their various jobs. The study could serve as an eye opener to parents who are ignorant of their parental role towards their children.
The study could help the government to be aware of the factors that could be responsible for the problem of sexual abuse.
The knowledge of this will help the government in setting up more centers and social welfare where the personnel can under go training so that they can be of assistance to both parents and children alike.
The study could also help the counsellor in the school to understand the child’s problem with regards to their relationship with their parents and to be able to allow the counsellors organize for individual or group counseling with those that have similar problems.
Counsellors can also organize seminars specifically on factors responsible for the social ill.
The study is also significant for the purpose of information dissemination, it would provide educational planners, teachers, parents and students in general about how sexual abuse can be minimized and at the same time male recommendations about how abusive and non-abusive parent would help their children, thereby brightening the future of the little ones on whom the future progress of the country lies.