The Demographics Behind the Courage to Tell for Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Experiences in Kenya

  • Wamuyu Eunice Menja Kenyatta University
  • Lucy Kathuri-Ogola, PhD Kenyatta University
  • Joan Kabaria Muriithi, PhD Kenyatta University
  • Taren Swindle, PhD University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
Keywords: Child, Sexual Abuse, Disclosure, Survivor, Perpetrator
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Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) is both a global and national social issue, as well as an epidemic in various societies. Non-disclosure of CSA only worsens and extends survivors’ suffering, and CSA’s long-term effects can be devastating. Several studies have been done in the field of CSA and its health implications but rarely have previous studies addressed child sexual abuse disclosure (CSAD). The current study aimed at examining child factors of CSAD at Thika Level 5 Hospital (TL5H) in Kiambu County, Kenya. The study is a case study using a phenomenology approach where the primary data was collected from the sexual abuse survivors and caregivers using a mixed-method analysis. Interviews were conducted with 30 CSA survivors, 25 girls, and 5 boys: 5-17 years. The study utilised the convergent QUAL (investigative open-ended questions and storytelling) design with a Quan component (structured survey) to identify CSA survivors’ experiences while receiving medical treatment and therapeutic intervention at TL5H. Descriptive and thematic approaches were applied to analyse qualitative data that revealed survivors’ lived experiences with CSA. Informed by Bronfenbrenner’s Socio-Ecological Model (SEM), saliency analysis was applied to code the recurring and important themes from the data in order to identify which child factors. Survivors gave detailed accounts of types of threats and manipulation applied by perpetrators to stop them from disclosing abuse. Survivors said disclosing or not disclosing helped them cope with abuse trauma. Quantitative results revealed that 58% of the survivors who completed the disclosure process aged between 9-13 years, 83.3% were female, and 70% had achieved a lower level of education.


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16 November, 2021
How to Cite
Menja, W., Kathuri-Ogola, L., Muriithi, J., & Swindle, T. (2021). The Demographics Behind the Courage to Tell for Survivors: Child Sexual Abuse Experiences in Kenya. East African Journal of Health and Science, 4(1), 61-72.