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The voice of male citizens: why do men sexually abuse young girls? a study of men in Ibadan City in Oyo State, Nigeria.

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Sexual abuse of young girls remains a prominent international concern. This pandemic abuse is a major problem that affects young girls and females throughout Africa. Nigeria is among the countries affected by the prevalence of sexual abuse with high reports of incidents of the sexual abuse of young girls which has become a regular fixture in the Nigerian media. Numerous studies have been done on sexual abuse; however, this study presents men’s perceptions and opinions about the reasons why men sexually abuse young girls. This study presents findings from research conducted in the Ibadan community in Oyo State, Nigeria. Based on a qualitative research method, the essential objective of this study is to explore men’s perception towards what they think makes men sexually abuse young girls. Hence this study does not look at the perpetrators or victims of sexual abuse but rather it seeks men’s opinions in order to understand the causes of sexual abuse perpetrated by men. The in-depth semi-structured interviews were conducted with twenty members of the Ibadan north-east local government community. With the ethical clearance approval, the interviews were conducted in the period of December 2018 to January 2019. The research is positioned towards a feminist critical argument therefore the aim of the investigation is to understand why men sexually abuse young girls. The study explores the authentic views of the Ibadan northeast’s community as there is limited scholarly literature on men’s opinions on the sexual abuse of young girls. Critical questions are asked such as men’s perceptions towards sexual abuse and what men think should happen to the perpetrators. This study provides the opportunity to listen to men’s voices on why men sexually abuse young girls. The data were thematically analysed and discussed. Results indicate that there is an overall knowledge of sexual abuse, from the sample of interviewees, majority of whom are patriarchal in nature. Also, from the findings there was a stereotyping of female dressing by the participants which was linked to the cause of sexual abuse, participants also expressed their judgmental actions on the perpetrators of sexual abuse by killing the offenders. Therefore, opinions and views are shared in the recommendations. Necessary campaigns and awareness on sexual abuse should be carried out to address the issue of sexual abuse, likewise to inform the law enforcement agencies on how to handle and give necessary attention to reports of sexual abuse.


Masters Degree. University of KwaZulu-Natal, Durban.