Sexual Abuse And Students’ Academic Performance In Senior Secondary Schools
This research investigates the effects of sexual abuse on academic performance of senior secondary school students’ in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State. In order to achieve the objectives, the following research questions were advanced; (i) what is the extent of the effect of sexual abuse on students’ assessment grades and academic performance? (ii) What is the extent of the effect of sexual abuse on students’ participation in class activities and academic performance? Two research hypotheses were also formulated in furtherance of the study; (i) sexual abuse has no significant effects on students’ assessment grades and academic performance (ii) sexual abuse has no significant effects on students’ participation in class activities and academic performance. The study uses the survey design and the population of the study was the 195public senior secondary schools identified in Ojo Local Government Area. It was recommended that; sexual abuse and it effects should receive attention in education policy forums; and that parents should always relate to their student with love and affection and provide for their needs; there should be public enlightenment programs to combat mass ignorance and public awareness on the right to freedom from all forms of sexual abuse; as much as possible, teachers/caregivers should avoid the use of corporal punishment because it only teaches student that violence is the best way of maintaining control and it encourages them to hit other student.
1.1 Background to the Study
The problem of sexual abuse has received the attention of scholars from a variety of life domains, because the scourge seems to be an issue of immorality that has no regard for individual status, religious affiliation, wealth, education, or development of countries across the globe (Gowen, 2001; Berdahl, 2007; Dobbin, 2009; Menon et al., 2011).
The quest for modernity, which is a paradigm that surrounds democracy in politics, capitalism in economy, positivism in science etc, seems to have influenced its escalation in underdeveloped societies through acculturation. Ideas inherent in capitalist economy prompted women to abandon their traditional roles in the family for equal competition with men via education (Kofi, 2010). Prior acculturation, however, roles of women in the society were limited to their husband homes. They were doing well in home keeping, caring for the children and the aged. The confined roles of women at that point in time must have prevented traditional societies from experiencing serious problems of sexual abuse that we have today (Anugwomet al., 2010).
Apart from the economic, social and political factors that make women more vulnerable to sexual abuse than men; cultural factors play a prominent role. Cultural norms, which include male honour, masculinity and men’s sexual entitlement, foster societal acceptance of sexual abuse (World Health Organisation, 2002). The acceptance is reinforced by the traditional gender roles, which allows premarital and extramarital sex for male only. Hence, sex is perceived as a psychological necessity for male but largely considered inappropriate for women (Wasti and Cortina, 2002).
However, no reason could be used to justify sexual abuse in man’s society. The scourge is an absurdity not only in Christianity, but also in civil society and it points to the escalation of moral decadence in modern societies, with attendant effects on health and academic performance. Its escalation in secondary school system, where morality is expected to be used to complement academic performance is gradually becoming a growing concern in Nigeria. It is amazing and disturbing that this occurs in academia, saddled with the responsibility of moulding and filtering ground for building virile future leaders (Jega, 2013).
Sexual abuse is a global phenomenon that occurs across cultures and socio-economic groups. It has profound long-term negative consequences; it is a cruel, tragic occurrence, and a serious infringement of a child’s rights to health and protection (Sakelliadis et al., 2009). Sexual abuse remains a pervasive, but largely ignored issue in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa. This is true in Nigeria too, where reporting sexual abuse in general and child sexual abuse in particular would be regarded as embarrassing, frightening, and stigmatizing.
Although the escalation of this menace in the higher institutions might not be a surprise to well meaning Nigerians, bearing in mind the high level of indiscipline and rottenness prevailing in the Nigerian society, but its occurrence, prevalence and bearing on students’ academic performance in the secondary school systems call for a scholarly attention.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Sexual abuse is a social problem that has spread and increased rapidly in our educational institutions; even the secondary school system is not free from its menace. In Nigeria, this social mal adaptation is considered an issue of serious concern as it adversely affects the lives and performance of students as well as the harmonious functioning of the entire structure of the society. Sexual abuse and other associated problems are inimical to the survival and effective functioning of human societies. A significant number of abortions, unwanted pregnancies, contraction of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and untimely deaths have been ascribed to the outcomes of sexual abuse (Amosun, Ige and Ajala, 2010).
In recent times, studies have emerged to address the social problem of sexual abuse in work settings in Nigeria (Yusuf, 2008; Kofi, 2010; Ige and Adeleke, 2012). While the existing few studies focused on the occurrence of sexual abuse at the universities level (Omolola, 2007; Okeke, 2011; Abe, 2012), knowledge about its prevalence at the secondary school level and how it affects students academic performance in Nigeria is relatively lacking. In other word, there are no studies examining the occurrence of sexual abuse at this level. Therefore, this study intends to transcend the limit of the above study by filling these gaps in knowledge; by exploring sexual abuse and students’ academic performance in senior secondary schools in Ojo LGA.
1.3 Objectives of the Study
The broad objective of the study is to investigate the effect of sexual abuse on academic performance of senior secondary school student in Ojo Local Government Area.
Specifically, the study seeks to investigate;
- The effect of sexual abuse on senior secondary school students’ assessments grades and academic performance.
- The effect of sexual abuse on senior secondary school students’ participation in the class and academic performance.
1.4 Research Questions
- What is the extent of the effect of sexual abuse on senior secondary school students’ assessments grades and academic performance?
- What is the extent of the effect of sexual abuse on senior secondary school students’ participation in the class and academic performance?
1.5 Research Hypotheses
In furtherance of the objectives the following hypotheses are hereby projected;
HO1: sexual abuse has no significant effect on students’ assessments grades and academic performance.
HO2: sexual abuse has no significant effect on students’ participation in the class and academic performance.
1.6 Significance of the Study
In a society where student’s academic performance in most public schools is getting lower, any study which will discover some of the causes will be very relevant. Many research studies have been carried out outside of Lagos State on sexual abuse and its effect on students’ academic performance. There is need therefore for such a study to be carried out in our locality with different cultural settings. The result of this study will be an added advantage to governments stand on student’s right act and care, if it shows a significant influence. Parents, Guardians, Teachers, other caregivers and the general public will find the result of this study useful, as it will reveal to them the need for effective care and protection of their student, especially the importance of providing educational needs for a higher academic performance. The research will also be a resource of value to other researchers carrying out research on the topic or similar subject matter.
1.7 Scope of the Study
The study is intended to cover all the 19 public senior secondary schools in Ojo Local Government Area. However, due to time and financial limitations the study is limited to 3 selected public senior secondary schools. The researcher deems it appropriate to select these senior secondary schools because all the state owned senior secondary schools are attended by almost student of the same social class and a bound the face the same social and life challenges. Also, the calibers of teachers that teach in such schools are mostly of same social orientation. More so, the researcher targets to cover 10% of the total number of public senior secondary schools in the Local Government.
The study is also limited to the issue of sexual abuse and academic performance of senior secondary school students since it will be too cumbersome to study all the factors that deter academic performance of school student in the area.
Conclusion and Recommendations
In the study, the researcher tried to investigate the effects of sexual abuse on academic performance of students’ in public senior secondary schools in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos State. This was done through investigation of the personal characteristics (data) of students’ and teachers in public senior secondary schools and the effect of sexual abuse on students’ assessment grades and their participation in class which are identified to be measures of academic performance of senior secondary school students’ in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos state.
The statistical analysis reveals that; sexual abuse has significant effects on students’ assessment grades and their participation in class activities during and after lessons periods. Base on this, the research therefore conclude that sexual abuse has significant effects on academic performance of senior secondary school students’ in Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos state.
Based the findings, the research recommend the following:
The effects of sexual abuse on student‘s classroom behaviour and later academic performance should receive attention in education policy forums; and that parents should always relate to their student with love and affection and provide for their needs.
There should be public enlightenment programs to combat mass ignorance and public awareness on the right to freedom from all forms of sexual abuse.
As much as possible, teachers/caregivers should avoid the use of corporal punishment because it only teaches student that violence is the best way of maintaining control and it encourages them to hit other student.
There should be provision of nurturing and supportive student friendly school, learning environment free from noise, distractions, discrimination and abuse of any kind.
A student should not be disciplined when the adult’s anger is out of control.
Intense awareness should be created among teachers and school managers using seminars, workshops and training programs about what constitutes sexual abuse.
All forms of abuse should be exposed to this class of caregivers so as to draw their attention to some of the unintentional acts that bother on sexual abuse.
Teaching profession should be professionalized to ensure that there is no one teaching as a second best option, this would ensure that people in this profession really see it as their contribution to society’s development.
Penalty for teachers’ who commit sexual abuse with their students should be severe enough to deter other perpetrators.
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