Prevalence, Pattern and Psychosocial Effects of Rape Among Female Undergraduates in Zaria, North-western Nigeria
Apart from infections and physical injuries, victims of rape suffer many psychological and social complications. Available data from hospital-based studies may not be reliable as only few victims seek medical services for rape-related problems. The study determined the prevalence, pattern and psychosocial effects of rape among female undergraduates in three tertiary institutions in north-western Nigeria. It was a cross-sectional study in which questionnaires were administered to 300 female undergraduates. A woman was considered as a rape victim if she reported a previous experience of any degree of penetration of her vulva or anus with anything at all without her consent. The mean age of the respondents was 22.6±3.7 years. Among them, 56 (19.7%) had experienced rape; 25.0% before the age of 10 years. Most rape incidents occurred in a hotel, third party’s or public place (38.0%), and the most common mode of subduing victim was a physical force (42.9%). The most common psychological effect reported was difficulty in concentrating in academic activities 39 (69.6%), and 7 (12.5%) attempted suicide. On the social effects, majority 47 (83.9%) became afraid of sexual relationship with males, 80.4% developed a distrust for men, and 14.3% became ‘dependent’ on alcohol and/or other psychoactive substances. It was recommended that effort be channelled towards increasing public awareness on causes and preventive measures of rape, including lessons on sex education in school and at home.