- Background to the Study
Sexual violence is a major dehumanizing and serious emerging public health problem. It is also a social problem that affects thousands of people each year throughout the world, and adolescents seem to be the most affected victims due to their vulnerability (Center for Disease Control, 2011). About one hundred and fifty million girls below the age of 18 are said to have had experience of some form of sexual abuse (WHO, 2012). Researches also shows that 6 out of 10 sexual violence actions is done against girls between the age of fifteen or younger. Despite these high figures, they are still an underestimation of figures as a good number of sexual violence cases are never reported to the relevant establishment due to fear, shame and bias. (Sandra & Bloom, 2005). The male counterparts are not left out as well, although females seem to bear the largest brunt of the problem. Sexual violence can have long lasting, harmful consequence on it victims, their relatives, friends, and communities.
WHO (2012), described sexual violence as any attempt to achieve a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments, or advances, or act to traffic or otherwise directed against a person’s sexuality using force, by any one regardless of their relationship to the victim in any setting including home, school, and work, (Krug, Mercy, Dahlberg, & Zwi, 2002). It involves actions that range from verbal harassment to forced penetration, with various types of social intimidation. Sexual violence is a common phenomenon and occurs worldwide.
Data available suggests that in some countries one in five women report sexual violence by an intimate partner and up to a third of girls report forced sexual initiation (Odu, Falana, & Olotu, 2014) Sexual assault encompasses a range of acts, including coerced sex in marriage and dating relationships, rape by strangers, organized rape in war, sexual harassment (including demands of sex for jobs or school grades), and rape of children, trafficking of women and girls, female genital mutilation, and forced exposure to pornography. It is any act (verbal and/or physical) which breaks a person’s trust and/or safety and is sexual in nature (Dahlberg & Krug, 2002).
Adolescent women are at a higher risk for sexual violence than any other age group. Globally 40-47 percent of sexual violence is done against girls age 15 and younger. Child sexual abuse accounts for 7% to 8% of the mental health disease burden amongst females globally (Degue et al, 2014).Studies shows that a large number of date/acquaintance rape accounts for major cases of sexual violence. Poor awareness of the menace among this age group is a major identified risk factors increasing their vulnerability (CDC, 2014). Due to past or ongoing sexual abuse, abused teens are more likely than their non-abused peers to participate in “delinquent” teenage behaviors including those which result in social problems, conflict with authority, early sexual behavior, and eating problems, teenage pregnancy, and other high risk behaviors. (Darlinghton 2014). It is also note worthy that Most reported cases of sexual violence in Nigeria happens to victims of less than 18 years of age (Adepoju, 2012)
Thus, putting Adolescents at a greater risk of victimization in sexual violence issues. In preventing this menace efforts must be made to reach both the perpetrators and the victims. This is because programs planned towards creating awareness on sexual violence would probably reduce perpetrators choice of committing sexual violence crimes and victims risk of falling into such acts. Therefore assessing the knowledge and experiences of adolescents is imperative in gathering baseline data that would aid appropriate intervention program that is aimed at primarily preventing sexual violence incidence in a developing country like Nigeria were resources to manage cases are limited.