Health Implications of Sexual Violence Among Survivors in Selected Health Facilities in Kenya: Are There Gender Disparities?

Osero S. O. Justus, Margaret N. Keraka, Syprine A. Otieno


Sexual based violence (SBV) is a serious public health problem with profound impact on physical, social and mental health, both immediately and many years after the assault. The global statistics on sexual assault against women indicates that, at least one in every three (34%) has been beaten and/or coerced into sex. A World Health Organisation (WHO) multi-country study reports that between 16% and 59% women from Africa had ever experienced sexual violence. In Kenya, about 24% of women have been raped at least once. Nairobi women Hospital alone receives an average of 230 survivors per month, with approximately 45% being children, 49% women and 6% men respectively. The main aim of this study was to investigate the gender disparities in health implications of SBV among survivors in three health facilities in Kenya. This was a cross-sectional study involving 236(84.3%) female and 44(15.7%) male survivors were enrolled in the study. The study established that sexual based violence resulted into health consequences (76.8%) including psychological trauma 143(51%), physical injuries 75(27%), STIs 38(14%), gynaecological disorders 35(12%), Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) 32(11%), gastrointestinal disorders 21(7%) and unwanted pregnancies 17(6%). The results showed that females and males who developed health complications were not significantly different (χ2=0.223; df=1; p= 0.637). Males were more likely to suffer from psychological trauma, physical injuries and gastrointestinal injuries compared to females (OR= 1.2, CI= 0.6- 2.2; OR= 0.2, CI= 0.1- 5.0; and OR= 0.7, CI= 0.4- 1.5). On the hand, the study established that females were more likely to suffer from Sexually Transmitted Infection (STIs) (OR= 1.4, CI= 0.3- 6.0), gynaecological disorders (OR= 1.5, CI=0.5- 4.5), HIV (OR= 1.9, CI= 0.6- 6.6), and unwanted pregnancies (OR= 2.3, CI= 0.7- 8.1) compared to males. There is an urgent need to deal with the problems of SBV by preventing and stopping it. There should be a collaborative approach between all the stakeholders including the community, ministries of Medical Services and Public Health & Sanitation, private and non-governmental organization in dealing with sexual based violence and health implications resulting from it.

Keywords: Sexual based violence, health implications, survivors, males

DOI: 10.7176/JHMN/66-03

Publication date:September 30th 2019

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