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Child sexual abuse: community concerns in urban Tanzania.

Kisanga F, Nystrom L, Hogan N, Emmelin M

Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.

The aim of this study was to explore community perceptions about child sexual abuse in Tanzania. Thirteen focus group discussions were conducted with adult community members. The core category, children's rights challenged by lack of agency, was supported by eight categories. Aware but distressed portrayed feelings of hopelessness, lack of trust in the healthcare and legal systems reflected perceived malpractice, decreased respect for children's rights referred to poor parental care and substance abuse, myths justifying CSA illustrated cultural beliefs to rationalize child sexual abuse, disclosure threatened by fear of stigma and discrimination aligned the manifestations that prevent disclosure, actions driven by economic circumstances described the economical dependence of victims, urging a change in procedures reflected informants' wish to ally with local governance and pressure groups, and willingness to act indicated the community's role in supporting victims. The study showed how lack of agency calls for efforts to increase children's human rights at all levels.

Published 28 March 2011 in J Child Sex Abus, 20(2): 196-217.
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