Sexual Abuse of Girls with Disability: A Case of Four Girls in Addis Ababa

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Addis Ababa University


The purposes of this study were to undersiand the level of sexual abuse of girls with disability and it consequences. To achieve these objectives, data were collected from four sexually abused girls with disability, their respective parents and FGDs with teachers and related others. In-depth interviews were held with all the respondents using interview guide. The participants were purposely selected and the data were analyzed qualitatively. An effort was made to find out about the vulnerability factors, perpetrators, coping strategies and effects of sexual abuse. The results revealed that girls with disabilities are victims of abuse because of their vulnerability. Their inability to hear, understand, communicate, see etc. and challenges resulting from the society and from the surrounding environment, and absence of sexual education were major factors. Offenders were found to be a relative, neighbor, unidentified stranger and a person who is known by the victim took advantages of their vulnerability. Hence, it results in repeated and severe sexual abuse causing never-ending problems of psychological, behavioral, physical, educational, social and economical to health factors. As a result, parents and the society at large are negatively affected. Finally, providing appropriate sex education in relation to age appropriate and type of disability, training people in a variety of professions in communicating with and responding to the special needs of victims with disabilities; creating a safe environment that allows victims to disclose, a zero tolerance campaigns designed to rise in shifting awareness, focusing on research that is disability-specific sexual abuse cases, empowering measures, enhancing assertiveness and confidence of girls actually speaking up for themselves, organizing rehabilitation and counseling centers recognizing the special needs of girls, amending inadequate laws and criminalize crimes involving girls with disability are among the factors that are recommended to prevent sexual abuse.



Sexual Abuse of Girls with Disability