The intersection of gender-based violence and risky sexual behaviour among university students in Ethiopia: a qualitative study

Michelle R. Kaufman, Graziele Grilo, Ashlie M. Williams, Christina X. Marea, Fasil Walelign Fentaye, Lakew Abebe Gebretsadik, Shifera Asfaw Yedenekal

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Women who experience gender-based violence (GBV) are at risk for adverse sexual health outcomes, as they may be unable to fully negotiate sexual encounters. This may be especially true for females at universities in Ethiopia, where women are the minority and patriarchal norms prevail. This study explored students’ experiences and faculty’s perceptions of GBV and sexual risk behaviours at two Ethiopian universities. Individual interviews were conducted with students, and focus group discussions were held with students and faculty/staff. Qualitative thematic analysis was used to explore the relationship between GBV and sexual risk and identify intervention points. Data revealed that female students at both universities are regularly exposed to GBV, which in combination with risky sexual behaviours may threaten their health. Participants (n = 126) reported a belief that women who violate traditional gender norms are more prone to violence. Substance use was reported to contribute to risky behaviours, particularly for women. Participants reported male students sometimes encourage female intoxication in order to achieve sexual encounters. Sexual health and GBV-related services are provided, but participants highlighted necessary improvements. If females are to safely pursue higher education in Ethiopia, campus-based interventions focused on GBV and sexual risk are greatly needed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)198-211
Number of pages14
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
Volume11
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 2 2020

Keywords

  • Ethiopia
  • Gender-based violence
  • sexual risk behaviour
  • university students
  • youth

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology

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