Risk factors associated with sexual violence towards girls in Swaziland
Matthew J Breiding, Avid Reza, Jama Gulaid, Curtis Blanton, James A Mercy, Linda L Dahlberg, Nonhlanhla Dlamini & Sapna Bamrah
To explore risk factors for sexual violence in childhood in a nationally representative sample of females aged 13 to 24 years in Swaziland.
During a household survey respondents were asked to report any experiences of sexual violence before the age of 18 years. The association between childhood sexual violence and several potential demographic and social risk factors was explored through bivariate and multivariate logistic regression.
Participants totalled 1244. Compared with respondents who had been close to their biological mothers as children, those who had not been close to her had higher odds of having experienced sexual violence (crude odds ratio, COR: 1.89; 95% CI: 1.14–3.14), as did those who had had no relationship with her at all (COR: 1.93; 95% CI: 1.34–2.80). In addition, greater odds of childhood sexual violence were noted among respondents who were not attending school at the time of the survey (COR: 2.26; 95% CI: 1.70–3.01); who were emotionally abused as children (COR: 2.04; 95% CI: 1.50–2.79); and who knew of another child who had been sexually assaulted (COR: 1.77; 95% CI: 1.31–2.40) or was having sex with a teacher (COR: 2.07; 95% CI: 1.59–2.69). Childhood sexual violence was positively associated with the number of people the respondent had lived with at any one time (COR: 1.03; 95% CI: 1.01–1.06).
Inadequate supervision or guidance and an unstable environment put girls at risk of sexual violence. Greater educational opportunities and an improved mother-daughter relationship could help prevent it.