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Original Articles

A study on knowledge and prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse among schoolboys in Colombo District

Authors:

A S A Abeywardene ,

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, LK
About A S A
Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo,
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S H Atukorale,

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, LK
About S H
Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo,
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K K D C C Abeynayaka,

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, LK
About K K D C C
Medical Student, Faculty of Medicine, University of Colombo,
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Thamara Athauda

Journal of Child Health, LK
About Thamara
Senior Lecturer, Department of Community Medicine, University of Colombo.
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Abstract

Objectives To determine knowledge of sexual
harassment and abuse among schoolboys aged 14 to
19 years, assess prevalence, frequency and severity of
various types of sexual harassment and abuse, assess
frequency of reporting incidents of sexual harassment
and abuse to a trustworthy person, determine reasons
for non-reporting and determine characteristics
specific to sexually abused schoolboys.
Design A descriptive cross sectional study
Method Data was collected from 242 schoolboys
aged 14-19 years from 2 Colombo district schools
using a pre-tested and self-administered
questionnaire.
Results Among the 242 students surveyed, 3.7% had
knowledge on sexual harassment and 31% had
knowledge on sexual abuse. 190 (78.5%) students
had experienced sexual harassment and 53 (21.9%)
had experienced sexual abuse. Commonest type of
sexual abuse was oral sex with a prevalence of 9.5%.
10.7% students had been subjected to penetrative sex.
Commonest reason for not reporting an incident of
sexual harassment and sexual abuse was fear.
Prevalence of sexual abuse was highest in the lower
social class. Mother working abroad, being separated
from both mother and father, not having any reliable
friends were possible risk factors for being subjected
to sexual abuse.
Conclusions Prevalence of sexual abuse in
schoolboys exceeds global figures. Prevalence of
sexual harassment is on par with global figures.
Knowledge on sexual harassment was extremely low
and on sexual abuse relatively low.

Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 2004; 33: 9-17

(Key words: Knowledge, prevalence, sexual harassment, sexual abuse, schoolboys)

doi: 10.4038/sljch.v33i1.661

How to Cite: Abeywardene, A.S.A., Atukorale, S.H., Abeynayaka, K.K.D.C.C. and Athauda, T., 2009. A study on knowledge and prevalence of sexual harassment and abuse among schoolboys in Colombo District. Sri Lanka Journal of Child Health, 33(1), pp.9–17. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/sljch.v33i1.661
Published on 09 Jul 2009.
Peer Reviewed

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