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Prevalence of sexual harassment/victimization of female students in Ebonyi State University Abakaliki, southeast Nigeria

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Objective: To assess the prevalence, types and consequences of sexual harassment/victimization of female students in the University. Methodology: This was a cross sectional descriptive study. Using a cluster sampling method, 295 female students resident in the four campuses of the university were recruited and interviewed with a structured interviewer-administered questionnaire. Results: One hundred and eight (36.7%) of the respondents had experienced sexual harassment/victimization at least once on campus. Out of this, 35 (32.4%) were forced sexual intercourse while 73 (67.6%) were other forms of unwanted sexual contact including indecent touch, romance and kisses. Majority 53 (49.1%) of the perpetrators were fellow students. Similarly, majority 55 (50.9%) of the harassment/victimization took place in the student's residence, 27 (25.0%) took place at staff offices while 26 (24%) took place in other venues including hotels. The most common adverse consequence of the sexual harassment/victimization was psychosocial distress (89.8%) followed by poor academic performance (56.5%) and sexually transmitted infection (6.5%). However, 12 (11%) of the victims claimed that the harassment resulted to an improved academic performance. Being older (= 30 years) and being married were significantly more associated with being victimized. Conclusions: About a third of female students in Ebonyi State University had been sexually victimized or harassed. Fellow students were responsible for most of the incidents followed by academic staff and other university employees. Most incidents occurred in the students' hostels or residences and older students and those who were married had higher risk of being harassed Journal of Community Medicine & Primary Health vol 23 (1-2) 2011


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