Sexual Violence of Liberian School Age Students: An Investigation of Perpetration, Gender, and Forms of Abuse
This study examined the perpetration of sexual violence within the institutional setting of primary schools in Liberia using secondary analysis of data collected from 811 Liberian school aged participants (298 girls and 513 boys). The study looked specifically at the perpetration of: 1) sexual violation, 2) transactional sex, and 3) sexual coercion. Sexual violation was the most common form of sexual violence experienced, followed by sexual coercion, and then transactional sex. Findings showed statistically significant differences in experiences of transactional sex and sexual coercion, with girls more likely to experience both forms of violence. Further, girls were more likely to experience sexual abuse by a teacher and religious figure. Perpetration by teachers, school staff, and religious figures were all linked to transactional sex. Results showed that transactional sex was most highly statistically significantly associated with teachers while perpetration by a religious figure was statistically significantly associated with sexual coercion. Girls had three times of the odds of experiencing transactional sex and coercion. We conclude that there is a need for interventions to prevent sexual abuse from occurring in educational institutions. In particular, there is a need for protective mechanisms addressing the transactional nature of abuse with teachers and school staff.