Document Type



Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence

Publication Details

Child abuse and neglect, 30, 12, Dec. 2006, 1343-1351.


Objectives: There are no prevalence data for childhood sexual abuse among Tanzanian university students. This investigation addressed this paucity. The nature of sexual abuse was also investigated. Method: Participants (N= 487) from a university in Tanzania completed a questionnaire which assessed abusive childhood sexual experiences, gathering information about age of victim, duration of abuse, perpetrators, amount of force or persuasion involved, and potential causes of child sexual abuse. A number of individuals were also interviewed about their experiences. Results: The overall prevalence rate for child sexual abuse was 27.7%, with rates being higher for females than for males. The average age of the victim when abuse occurred was 13.8 years. Perpetrators were generally unidentified by respondents; nonetheless, a surprisingly high proportion of female perpetrators was noted. There was a considerable amount of force or persuasion involved in the abusive behavior: betrayal of trust, bribes and physical force were cited frequently. Poverty and superstition were the primary explanations given for child sexual abuse. Conclusion: The study provides evidence for the existence of child sexual abuse in Tanzania. Poverty feeds the “sugar daddy/mammy” phenomenon and combined with various forms of superstition is an important factor in child sexual abuse in Tanzania.