Sexual Coercion Among In-school Adolescents in Rwanda: Prevalence and Correlates of Victimization and Normative Acceptance


Adolescents are particularly vulnerable to sexual coercion, as victim as well as perpetrator. This paper aims to adapt sexual and reproductive health interventions to the reality of young people's sexuality and relationships. This study assesses the prevalence of forced sex, characteristics of victims and norms regarding sexual coercion among Rwandan adolescents. A survey was completed by 285 senior secondary school students and four focus groups were conducted. Of sexually active respondents, 15.5% (95% CI = [15.1 - 15.9]) reported forced sexual intercourse. Sexual victimization was associated with being female and having (had) a concurrent sexual relationship. Acceptance of sexual coercion was associated with importance attached to Rwandan traditions and an interaction term between sex (being male) and alcohol use. Respondents linked concurrency and age-disparate relationships to transactional sex, increasing the risk of sexual coercion. Various risk factors were identified. The findings suggest the need for moving towards comprehensive sex education.

Authors & affiliation: 
Els Van Decraen*1, Kristien Michielsen2, Sarah Herbots3, Ronan Van Rossem4, Marleen Temmerman5 1Master in Sociology / Master in Comparative and International Politics, Catholic University Leuven, Leuven, Belgium; 2International Centre for Reproductive Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Gent, Belgium; 3Faculty of Economic, Social and Political Sciences, Free University of Brussels, Brussels, Belgium; 4Faculty of Political and Social Sciences, Department of Sociology, Ghent University, Gent, Belgium; 5International Centre for Reproductive Health, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Ghent University, Gent, Belgium
Published In: 
African Journal of Reproductive Health September 20 12; 16(3):
Publication date: 
Sunday, September 16, 2012