One in five schoolgirls has been sexually abused at least once in her lifetime, according to the country’s first large-scale study on physical and emotional punishment, and sexual abuse of children.
The study asked 1,911 students in grade eight or above a series of questions on adult behaviour towards them, including whether an adult had ever touched them in a way that they did not want. In total, 16 per cent of those interviewed said yes: 11 per cent of the boys and 20 per cent of the girls.
The statistics are just two of the revealing figures that have emerged from the study, which was conducted as a joint project by the department of gender and family protection, UNICEF and Taylor Nelson Software (TNS) – an international research consultancy firm.
The enquiry was carried out from February to November last year and involved interviews with 2,440 caregivers in addition to the 1,911 students.
Overall, the findings revealed, “Home is not safe, the community is not safe and school is a grey area,” according to Kay Engelhardt, one of the TNS consultants who headed the research. He added the statistics were “considerably high” by international standards.
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