Knowledge and Attitudes towards Sexual Violence in Conflict-Affected Rural Communities in the Walikale District, DR Congo: Implications for Rural Health Services

Berthollet Kabouru, Gunnel Andersson, Annsofie Adolfsson, Catrin Borneskog, Edmond Ntabe Namegabe

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Abstract

Sexual violence has become endemic in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC),
but the perspectives of rural communities of the scourge remain poorly researched.
This study aims to describe the attitudes and knowledge of rural communities in
regard to sexual violence, its occurrence and associated problems in rural communities
in the Itebero/Walikale district in the DRC. A descriptive cross-sectional design was
adopted, and a structured questionnaire used. Four hundred respondents participated,
representing a group of ten villages populated by a total of 10,000 inhabitants.
The respondents stated that perpetrators were often men from their own village. The
fields were cited as being the place where most of the assaults occurred. A substantial
proportion of the respondents lacked sufficient knowledge of the health outcomes
of sexual violence. HIV infection and unwanted pregnancies were the most feared
consequences. The victims of violence either experienced compassion or suffered
rejection, depending on the community groups. Victims were mostly supported by
women from their community, followed by husbands, relatives and authorities. Health
facilities were the primary sources of support for victims. Rural health facilities need to
revolutionise their health education strategies to improve the current situation.
Original languageEnglish
Article number1009
JournalAnnals of Public Health and Research
Volume1
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 17 Dec 2014
Externally publishedYes

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