Child Sexual Abuse in African Nations: Lessons from Research and Therapeutic Implications

The aim of this paper is to study the prevalence of familial and community Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) across the continent of Africa, a subject that has been barely studied. This paper first reviews the general theories of CSA and its various definitions, and applies them to what is currently known about CSA in Africa. The continent of Africa is examined regionally using the United Nations sub-regional categorization, taking into account political, historic, cultural, economic, legal, and educational factors. Individual African nations in each sub-region are examined, illustrating the occurrence of CSA in a regional context depending on the amount of research available. Common themes and trends concerning CSA across the African nations are identified, especially with respect to patriarchy. Also studied is the efficiency of local health and legal authorities in dealing with CSA in the few nations where it is recognized. This paper presents guidelines for clinicians in how to deal with patients of African origin who have experienced CSA amongst many other possible traumas, and how to clinically isolate the CSA aspects and approach them in a societally appropriate African context. Recommendations are made regarding further research.

Pomy Worku
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