Uganda

This is an original post just to reference this paper:

Agardh A, Odberg-Pettersson K, Ostergren PO. Experience of sexual coercion and risky sexual behavior among Ugandan university students. BMC Publ Health. 2011;12:527. doi: 10.1186/1471-2458-11-527. [PMC free article].

It has assumed that in countries with little equality between the genders that women are predominately the victims of sexual abuse and sexual violence. Yet again we see that when someone actually bothers to actually survey men as well as women the difference is much less than anticipated by the commonly held belief. This survey among 980 student at Mbarara University of Science and Technology in Uganda found that 33.1% of the female students and 29.0% among male students had experienced sexual  coercion.

Sexual coercion was defined as answering yes to one or more of the following questions:

  • “You have been forced to show your sexual organ”
  • “Someone has forced you to let them touch your sexual organ”
  • “Someone forced you to let them suck or lick your sexual organ”
  • “Someone has forced you to let them show you their own sexual organ”
  • “You have been forced to watch someone masturbate”
  • “You have been forced to masturbate someone”
  • “You have been forced to take part in oral sex or to lick someone’s sexual organ”
  • “You have been forced to take part in sexual intercourse with the penis in the vagina, or someone has inserted an object into your vagina”
  • “You have been forced to pose for a sex photo or sex film”

From the Discussion paragraph in the paper:

To our knowledge, this study represents the first time that the prevalence of sexual coercion has been assessed in a group of young males in Uganda. It has been claimed that such prevalence is considerably lower among males than females in societies with substantial gender inequity [20]. Such a hypothesis is not supported by our data for Uganda, a country where gender equity is conspicuously absent.

The also mention the assumption that men are less impacted by sexual abuse/violence/coercion:

It has also been suggested that the impact of experience of sexual coercion differs from males to females [14]. However, this hypothesis also finds little support in our analyses.

The same dataset from the survey was also used in this paper published in PLoS ONE 2012; 7(12): e51424. : http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3519892/

(Citations from cited text above):

14. Cáceres C, Vanoss MB, Sid HE. Sexual coercion among youth and young adults in Lima, Peru. J Adolesc Health. 2000;26(5):361–367. doi: 10.1016/S1054-139X(98)00042-1. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

20. Hines DA. Predictors of sexual coercion against women and men: a multilevel, multinational study of university students. Arch Sex Behav. 2007;36(3):403–422. doi: 10.1007/s10508-006-9141-4. [PubMed] [Cross Ref]

8 thoughts on “Uganda

  1. Hi Tamen! Congratulations on your new blog. I’ve been enjoying reading it.

    These studies from Uganda are very interesting. I’d already seen this paper while browsing on pubmed and it’s great to see a blog writing about it. One thing I wondered: this study doesn’t say much about the gender of perpetrator? Also it doesn’t tell us about the age at which the abuse happened. Nevertheless it’s striking how similar the responses of men and women were.

    Another thought. The present authors say that some studies (Denise Hines’ Predictors of Sexual Coercion is given as an example I think) found that countries with low gender equality show greater female sexual victimisation than male. It’s tempting to say that’s because men have more power in those societies, which is clearly the interpretation some feminist researchers will take for granted. But surely another possible factor is that in societies with very traditional gender attitudes, there will likely be an even stronger stigma for men reporting being abused, either by women or other men. Additionally, in those countries, men might even be more likely to rationalise away the abuse they suffer as somehow consensual, so as to fit in with what is socially expected of them as “acceptable” men.

  2. Hi and welcome SensitiveThug!

    No, as far as I could see the survey these papers are based on didn’t include data on perpetrators. Neither did any of them a breakdown among the different types of sexual abuse, for instance how many answered yes to “Someone has forced you to let them show you their own sexual organ” and how many answered yes to “You have been forced to take part in sexual intercourse with the penis in the vagina, or someone has inserted an object into your vagina”. Although the way they describe the questions it seem likely that the data contains this information.

    I think your thoughts on how a society with little gender equity will also include a stronger stigma for men reporting being abused is just as as valid as a hypothesis as the one assuming that less equality inherently means men abusing women far more than women abusing men. Also given the poor state of LBGT rights in Uganda I think you are certtainly right in pointing out the strong stigma for men reporting abuse from both women and men.

    When time permits I have plans to look closer into the cited DA Hines article – I have located a free and full version of that article here: http://pubpages.unh.edu/~mas2/ID45-PR45.pdf

    I found that link on Feckless striking summary of this Hines paper on this 2011 post: http://feck-blog.blogspot.no/2011/05/predictors-of-sexual-coercion-against.html

  3. Hi, thanks for the welcome! Denise Hines does some great research. Her homepage doesn’t seem to have references to all of it however. And yes you’re right: it’d be interesting to see the breakdown of their data by incident type. They’ve published other papers using the same data so it’s possible they wrote about that elsewhere, although I suspect not. You (or I) could always try messaging them? I’m not sure if that information would be confidential or not?

  4. Thanks, that was interesting. Good find. First thought after skimming it; it appears the authors consider rape by envelopment to be included in the “new” FBI definition of rape. I’ll have spend some more time reading it more thoroughly.

  5. Pingback: New study: Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators | Tamen's writings
  6. “It has also been suggested that the impact of experience of sexual coercion differs from males to females [14]. However, this hypothesis also finds little support in our analyses.”

    Have you looked at this part of the study?

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