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close this bookPreliminary Investigation of the Abuse of Girls in Zimbabwean Junior Secondary Schools - Education research paper No. 39 (DFID, 2000, 100 p.)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentRESEARCH TEAM
View the documentACRONYMS
View the documentABSTRACT
close this folderEXECUTIVE SUMMARY
View the documentThe context
View the documentFindings
View the documentCauses and consequences
View the documentAction
close this folder1. INTRODUCTION
View the document(introduction...)
View the document1.1 The research study
View the document1.2 Definition and scope of abuse in this study
close this folder2. THE RESEARCH CONTEXT
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View the document2.1 The background to each school
View the document2.2 The school setting
View the document2.3 Sexual activity within the school
close this folder3. THE FINDINGS
View the document3.1 Interviews with girls
View the document3.2 Interviews with boys
View the document3.3 Interviews with teachers and head teachers
View the document3.4 Interviews with parents
View the document3.5 Interviews with government officials
close this folder4. DISCUSSION
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View the document4.1 What is the nature and pattern of the abuse of girls in each of these schools?
View the document4.2 To what extent are the perceptions of abuse held by teachers, pupils and other educational personnel at variance with our definition (as given in section 1.1)?
View the document4.3 Who are the abusers, what are their characteristics and their reasons for abusing girls?
View the document4.4 Who are the abused, their characteristics and the consequences of the abuse?
View the document4.5 What is the relationship between the victim and the abuser?
View the document4.6 In what ways does the school environment condone or encourage abuse?
View the document4.7 In what ways do the schools seek to prevent or address explicitly the incidence of abuse?
View the document4.8 What redress is currently practised by the educational and/or judicial system against acts of abuse?
View the document5.1 Workshop findings
close this folder5.2 Strategic actions
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentGirls can
View the documentTeachers can
close this folderSchool management (heads and deputies) can
View the documentSchool culture
View the documentTeaching and training
View the documentEnforcement of rules
View the documentOutside resources
View the documentParental involvement
View the documentThe Ministry of Education (central and regional) can
View the documentTeacher training colleges can
View the documentMinistry initiatives
View the document6. CONCLUDING COMMENTS
View the documentREFERENCES
close this folderAPPENDICES
View the documentAppendix 1: numbers interviewed
close this folderAppendix 2: Tables
View the documentTable 1: January 1999 enrolments in the four schools
View the documentTable 2: Background information on girls
View the documentTable 3: If a schoolgirl gets pregnant......girls' and boys' opinions
View the documentTable 4: If a schoolgirl gets pregnant................. teachers' opinions
View the documentTable 5: If a schoolgirl gets pregnant............ parents' opinions
close this folderAppendix 3: Interview data
close this folderGIRLS' INTERVIEWS
View the documentAbuse by male pupils
close this folderAbuse by teachers
View the documenta. Girls who had been propositioned
View the documentb. Girls who know others whom they suspect of having an affair with a teacher
View the documentc. Evidence that girls sometimes encouraged teachers
View the documentAbuse by older men and 'sugar daddies'
close this folderBOYS' INTERVIEWS
View the documentd. Examples of ways in which boys proposition girls
View the documente. Suggestions that girls sometimes made sexual advances to boys
View the documentAppendix 4 : Teachers' definition of abuse
View the documentAppendix 5: Pupils' Workshops
close this folderAppendix 6: Teachers' Workshops
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View the documentSchool A: 8 teachers
View the documentSchool B: 8 teachers
View the documentSchool C: 10 teachers
View the documentSchool D: 12 teachers

The context

The research discussed in this report addresses school-based abuse of adolescent girls. The purpose of the study was to investigate the nature and pattern of abuse of girls in a number of schools in Zimbabwe, examine ways in which the schools addressed the issue of abuse, and recommend strategies for confronting and reducing its incidence. The research was carried out in three co-educational junior secondary schools and one all-girls' secondary school in one region of Zimbabwe during 1998-1999. Two of the schools were located in a rural setting, one in a peri-urban area and the fourth in an urban centre. In-depth interviews were held with 112 girls mostly aged 13-15 in Forms 1-3, supplemented by interviews with boys, teachers and head teachers, parents and some government officials.

Abuse is a difficult area to research because it is associated with sexual abuse, a taboo topic which most people would prefer to ignore. Nevertheless, there has been for some time increasing acknowledgement in many countries around the world that serious abuse of children exists in the home, the community and the labour market. Abuse in the school is less recognised and, in sub-Saharan Africa, is only just being exposed and talked about openly. Little as yet has been done to stamp it out.

Both sexual and non-sexual forms of school-based abuse were included in the study. Sexual abuse was any kind of abuse which had a sexual dimension, e.g. physical, verbal, psychological or emotional. Non-sexual abuse in the context of this study took the form of corporal punishment, which, although banned in Zimbabwe except in clearly specified situations, is widely used, on girls as well as boys, and by female teachers as well as male. The two types of abuse are linked, for an environment which tolerates the illegal use of corporal punishment is one which is likely to be equally permissive of other forms of violence, including sexual abuse.

Although the focus of the study was on school-based abuse, we did not wish to isolate it from its broader context - that of the gendered society. Alongside abuse by male teachers and pupils, we therefore included abuse experienced by girls in the proximity of the school, e.g. on their way to and from school, usually by older men known as 'sugar daddies' who seek to lure girls into sexual relationships with money or gifts.