Sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence among nicaraguan men and women: A population-based anonymous survey

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Children's Services in the Developing World




Nicaragua; Sexual abuse; Sexual risk behavior


© Dwan Kaoukji and Najat M’ Jid 2009. Aims: The objective was to describe experiences of sexual abuse occurring before 19 years of age among men and women in León, Nicaragua and to explore the possible association to later sexual risk behavior. Method: A sub-sample of literate urban men and women 25-44 years of age was selected from a representative sample of households in León. After an invitation to a public health event, 154 men (53% of the invited) and 213 women (66% of those invited) participated in giving written answers to an anonymous questionnaire. Results: Twenty percent of men and 26% of women reported that they had experienced sexual abuse. Women had been victims of attempted or completed rape twice as often as men, 15% as compared to 7%. Thirty-three percent of the abuse towards boys and 66% of the abuse towards girls was committed by family members. Women who had experienced attempted or completed rape were more likely to later have had a higher number of sexual partners compared to non-abused or moderately abused women. Conclusions: Sexual abuse of children and adolescents of both sexes is common in Nicaragua. The results underscore the urgent need to address this serious problem more openly, and to make more resources available for the prevention of sexual abuse and for support to victims. © 2000 Elsevier Science Ltd.