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Gender-based violence against female pupils at a high school in northern Zambia
  1. R E Mtonga*
  1. Correspondence Mthunzi Medical Centre, P.O. Box 31456, Lusaka 10101, Zambia

Abstract

Summary Gender-based violence was commonly directed against female pupils by teachers and male pupils using non-consensual sex, corporal punishment and abusive language. The victims didn't report the matter for fear of reprisals.

Results The pupils were aged between 10 and 21 years (with majority between 16 and 20 years old) and equal gender representation. 29 (58%) pupils reported being sexually abused by teachers, 29 (58%) cited corporal punishment 27 (56%) ticked abusive language. In 27 (54%) cases, teachers were the main perpetrators, while 22 (44%) pointed at classmates. 10 (43.5%) did not report the matter. Reasons included fear of being expelled from class, the teachers lose their jobs (2 or 8.7%), feared retaliation from fellow classmates and 2 (8.7%) felt sited cultural taboos. In reported cases 8 (29.6%) showed no action was taken and 4 (14.8%) didn't hear any further from the authorities. Five (10%) had unwanted pregnancies, 4 (8%) had contracted sexually transmitted infections. 38 (76%) felt depressed, with 15 (30%) feeling like skipping class and another 2 (4%) contemplating suicide.

Discussions and Conclusions Gender-based violence was mainly perpetrated by teachers and pupils against female pupil. Abused pupils feared reprisals hence did not report the matter and when reported no appropriate action was taken. Consequences of gender-based violence included depression, contraction of sexually transmitted infections, unwanted pregnancies and suicidal thoughts.

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