Female survivors of sexual violence: cultural and socioeconomic factors that influence first visits to the SGBV clinics at Kenyatta National Hospital
Sexual violence against women is a health problem that is well recognized globally. The situation is very wide spread In Kenya. It has been estimated that women from all social and ethnic groups are raped and sexually assaulted everyday in the country. The Kenya police report pointed out that 876 cases of rape were reported, 1, 984 defilement cases, 182 incest cases and 191 sodomy cases. (Kenya Police, 2003) Also, according to Kenya DHS 2003, 16% of women in Kenya reported that they have ever been abused sexually and 13% among those reported having been sexually abused in the last year. The study focused on examining the women survivors of sexual violence and the cultural and socio-economic factors that influence first visits to sexual gender based violence clinics at Kenyatta National Hospital. The research question looked at whether there is a relationship between cultural, socio-economic factors and visits to SGBV clinics after sexual violence. The study population included all urban women survivors of sexual violence from different social economic background, while the sampling frame was every sexual violence woman survivor who was coming for follow up. The study area was Kenyatta National Hospital. The study used a cross-sectional retrospective quantitative and problem centered qualitative approach. In the case of the cross-sectional retrospective data collection, a random sampling method was used to select participants, and every patient’s file had an equal chance of being selected. A sample size of 164 files was used in the study.Specific guidelines tailored to determine whether cultural and socio-economic factors influence first visits to sexual gender based violence clinics following sexual violence were used for qualitative data collection. The researcher got a list of SGBV women survivors who are on follow up from the patient support center at KNH, purposively select 25 patients who delayed to visit the SGBV clinic, i.e., went after 72 hours following sexual violence, then called them and requested them to come on a specific day for the problem centered interview. The researcher first explained to the patients what the study was about and after getting their consent, the interviews took place. Quantitative data was analyzed using SPSS version18, it was then presented using frequency tables and in narratives, while the qualitative data was transcribed, coded into themes using NVIVO and then content analysis was done. Results: The data indicated that out the 156 survivors whose files were used only 40 (25.6%) reported to the KNH SGBV clinic within 72 hours, the majority 116(74.4%) reported after 72 hours and therefore could not receive the necessary after rape services. From the in depth interviews the following reasons were given for late reporting to the SGBV clinic: ignorance, lack of money, relationship with the perpetrator, circumstances surrounding the incidence, fear of stigma, self-blame, religious influence and advice given by the person shared with. Discussion:The study found that, the majority (60%) of the SGBV survivors reported late (72 hours after sexual abuse) to the SGBV clinic in Kenyatta. This is comparable to a study done at Mulago hospital in Kampala Uganda. 2005 where the majority (57%) reported to the emergency gynecological ward after 72 hours following sexual violence. The research findings showed that when a woman is raped by her husband or a close relative, she is more unlikely to report to the hospital because they think that their husbands has the right to have sex with her even when she is not interested. On the same, women raped close relatives did not report because incest is a taboo in many ethnic groups in Kenya and therefore they feared r of bringing shame to the family. This is comparable to a study done at Mulago hospital in Kampala Uganda, (Samuel Ononge et.al, 2005) Some participants were not able to report to the hospital on time due to long distances and lack of transport. Experiences of female survivors of sexual violence in eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo study (JT Kelly et.al) concluded the same. Conclusion:Sexual Gender based violence is still a major problem in our society today and many women who experience it do not know what they are required to do when they are abused.
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