Sexual Coercion Among Students at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana

Type Journal Article - Sexuality & Culture
Title Sexual Coercion Among Students at the University of Cape Coast, Ghana
Volume 21
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2017
Page numbers 516-533
Sexual coercion refers to strategies that result in an individual engaging in sexual activity against his or her will. Ecological factors influence the way sexual interactions occur; however, the relationship between these factors and sexual coercion has not been explored among university students in Ghana. The purpose of this study was to examine sexual coercion among university students in Ghana by specifically examining individual-level factors (age, gender, sexual debut, age differential with first partner, being in an intimate relationship, history of abortion, and past experiences with transactional sex) and the experience of forced and coerced sex. Residential students at the University of Cape Coast were invited to participate and completed a survey on a tablet computer. Questions included demographics; sexual and reproductive health experiences and knowledge; and attitudes and experiences with abortion. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to examine individual-level factors associated with experiences of sexual coercion and forced sex. There were 480 females and 556 males that completed the survey; 26.3 and 16.4% reported having had intercourse either because they were forced or coerced, or when they were “very unwilling”. These students were more likely to be female (OR 3.5), to have had an abortion (OR 2.9), and to have engaged in transactional sex (OR 1.9). Many University of Cape Coast students are experiencing forced or coerced sex. Programs targeting both female and male students as both victims and perpetrators of sexual violence in this population are sorely needed. Primary prevention of sexual violence is one promising field.

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