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Objectives: There are no prevalence data for childhood sexual abuse among Tanzanian university students. This investigation addressed this paucity. The nature of sexual abuse was also investigated. Method: Participants (N= 487) from a university in Tanzania completed a questionnaire which assessed abusive childhood sexual experiences, gathering information about age of victim, duration of abuse, perpetrators, amount of force or persuasion involved, and potential causes of child sexual abuse. A number of individuals were also interviewed about their experiences. Results: The overall prevalence rate for child sexual abuse was 27.7%, with rates being higher for females than for males. The average age of the victim when abuse occurred was 13.8 years. Perpetrators were generally unidentified by respondents; nonetheless, a surprisingly high proportion of female perpetrators was noted. There was a considerable amount of force or persuasion involved in the abusive behavior: betrayal of trust, bribes and physical force were cited frequently. Poverty and superstition were the primary explanations given for child sexual abuse. Conclusion: The study provides evidence for the existence of child sexual abuse in Tanzania. Poverty feeds the “sugar daddy/mammy” phenomenon and combined with various forms of superstition is an important factor in child sexual abuse in Tanzania.
McCrann, D., Lalor, K., Katabaro, J. Childhood Sexual Abuse Among University Students in Tanzania, Child Abuse and Neglect, Vol. 30, Issue 12, 2006,pp.1343-1351. doi:10.1016/j.chiabu.2006.05.009