Culture and child sexual abuse : a case study of the Krobo Municipality, Eastern region of Ghana

Attah, Dzifa Abra (2016-12)

Thesis (PhD)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: To address problems of child sexual abuse (CSA), it is important to study the cultural norms of the people it affects. To date, sub-Saharan Africa is marked as one of the worst affected regions. Yet, outside South Africa, few sub-Saharan African countries have prioritised research in this area. Knowledge of these cultural contexts may potentially provide a framework within which it may be more possible to help predict, describe and control CSA, and related consequences, effectively. The present study explored the lived experiences of the Krobo people of Ghana, specifically the meanings they ascribed to their sexuality as children and their experiences of CSA. Using Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis, these phenomena were explored from three major sources: participant observation of everyday practices in Kroboland, Ghana; interviews with Krobo people, comprising community members and community leaders; and interviews with key informants who had a history of working with children from this context. Five focus group discussions were conducted with the former, and 12 semi-structured interviews each with the latter groups. The findings shed light on cultural expectations of child care in Kroboland, which mandate collective efforts to foster and promote healthy child development. Yet, conflicting evidence from the narratives of the Krobo people showed that limited or impaired child-guardian interactions were common. Disturbed child-guardian interactions negatively affected subsequent behaviour patterns. This was evident in the ways some participants described their interactions with others. Some means by people in Kroboland sought to satisfy personal needs, desires and wishes, at times jeopardised their personal safety and sometimes involving crime. Key informants talked about the extent of child neglect, parentified children and associated CSA problems they have witnessed. Five male and four female participants shared personal accounts of CSA. For both genders, the occurrence of CSA was underscored by issues of age privilege and reciprocity. For male participants in particular, the desire to accomplish gender norms, assert masculinity and command control positioned them as willing participants. On the other hand, female participants laid emphasis on the influence of gender, emotional and financial neediness in the creation of a context of sexual risk. For male CSA survivors, sex with an older female was a welcomed passage of rite in the early stages of development. Later in life, however, sex offending, intimacy deficits and other sexually related problems became major concerns for some participants. CSA stirred up strong feelings of mistrust, hurt, pain, anger and a sense of disappointment among female CSA survivors. Some also developed a strong dislike towards the opposite sex and an aversion towards sex. Key informants indicated that CSA survivors required specialised services and support to deal with emerging problems, following CSA, as existing structures were inadequate. Nonetheless, in the aftermath of CSA, a few survivors shared aspects of personal development and growth they had achieved. An understanding of these CSA experiences is deepened by a presentation of the researcher’s own experiences of sexual harassment, during and after data collection. Study implications and recommendations for the community, and further research, are discussed.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Ten einde die probleme ten opsigte van die seksuele mishandeling van kinders (SMK) die hoof te bied, is dit belangrik om die kulturele norme van die mense wat daardeur geraak word, te ondersoek. Afrika suid van die Sahara is een van die streke wat die ergste deur SMK geraak word. Desondanks het weinige lande in hierdie streek, buiten Suid-Afrika, navorsing op hierdie gebied ʼn prioriteit gemaak. Kennis van hierdie kulturele kontekste kan moontlik ʼn raamwerk bied waarin SMK en verwante gevolge makliker voorspel, beskryf en beheer kan word. Die huidige studie het die ervarings van die Krobo-stam van Ghana ondersoek, in die besonder die betekenis wat hulle aan hul seksualiteit as kinders heg en hul ondervinding van SMK. Deur vertolkende fenomenologiese ontleding te gebruik, is drie metodes gebruik om hierdie verskynsels te ondersoek: deelnemerwaarneming van alledaagse praktyke in Kroboland, Ghana; onderhoude met die Krobo, wat lede van die gemeenskap en gemeenskapsleiers ingesluit het; en onderhoude met sleutelinformante met ondervinding van werk met kinders uit hierdie agtergrond. Vyf fokusgroepgesprekke is met eersgenoemde gevoer en 12 semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met die ander groepe. Die bevindings werp lig op die kulturele verwagtinge ten opsigte van kindersorg in Kroboland, waar ʼn gemeenskaplike poging om gesonde kinderontwikkeling te bevorder, aangemoedig word. Teenstrydige getuienisse uit die verhale van die Krobo toon egter dat beperkte of swak interaksie tussen kind en voog algemeen voorgekom het. Versteurde interaksie tussen kind en voog het ʼn negatiewe invloed op latere gedragspatrone gehad. Dit was duidelik uit die maniere waarop sommige deelnemers hul interaksies met ander beskryf het. Hoe die Krobo hul persoonlike behoeftes en begeertes probeer najaag het – partykeer op misdadige wyse – het soms hul persoonlike veiligheid in gedrang gebring. Sleutelinformante het vertel van die omvang van kinderverwaarlosing, kinders wat die rol van ouer moet vertolk en SMK-verwante probleme wat hulle waargeneem het. Vyf manlike en ses vroulike deelnemers het hul persoonlike ervaring van SMK gedeel. Albei geslagte het ʼn verband tussen aspekte soos ouderdomsvoorreg en wederkerigheid en voorvalle van SMK uitgewys. Die begeerte om aan gendernorme te voldoen, hul manlikheid te bewys en beheer uit te oefen, het veral manlike deelnemers in die posisie van gewillige deelnemers geplaas. Vroulike deelnemers het die invloed van gender asook emosionele en finansiële afhanklikheid in die skepping van ʼn konteks van seksuele risiko benadruk. Mans wat as kind seksueel mishandel is, het seks met ʼn ouer vrou as ʼn welkome deurgangsrite in die vroeë stadium van ontwikkeling gesien. Later in hul lewe het seksoortredinge, intimiteitsagterstande en ander seksverwante probleme egter groot probleme vir sommige deelnemers geword. SMK het sterk gevoelens van wantroue, seer, pyn, woede en teleurstelling ontlok by vroue wat as kind seksueel mishandel is. Sommiges het ook ʼn sterk renons in die teenoorgestelde geslag of ʼn weersin in seks ontwikkel. Sleutelinformante het aangedui dat kinders wat seksueel mishandel is spesialisdienste en ondersteuning nodig het om moontlike probleme te hanteer wat uit die mishandeling kan voortspruit, aangesien bestaande strukture ontoereikend is. Nietemin was daar ʼn paar deelnemers wat as kind seksueel mishandel is wat aspekte van persoonlike ontwikkeling en groei gedeel het. Die deel van die navorser se persoonlike ervarings van seksuele teistering gedurende en na afloop van data-insameling dra by tot ʼn dieper begrip van hierdie ervarings van SMK. Die implikasies van die studie en aanbevelings vir die gemeenskap en vir verdere navorsing word ook bespreek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100080
This item appears in the following collections: