Globally, little evidence exists on sexual violence against boys. We sought to produce the first internationally comparable estimates of the magnitude, characteristics, risk factors, and consequences of sexual violence against boys in 3 diverse countries.
We conducted nationally representative, multistage cluster Violence Against Children Surveys in Haiti, Kenya, and Cambodia among males aged 13 to 24 years. Differences between countries for boys experiencing sexual violence (including sexual touching, attempted sex, and forced/coerced sex) before age 18 years were examined by using χ2 and logistic regression analyses.
In Haiti, Kenya, and Cambodia, respectively, 1459, 1456, and 1255 males completed surveys. The prevalence of experiencing any form of sexual violence ranged from 23.1% (95% confidence Interval [CI]: 20.0–26.2) in Haiti to 14.8% (95% CI: 12.0–17.7) in Kenya, and 5.6% (95% CI: 4.0–7.2) in Cambodia. The largest share of perpetrators in Haiti, Kenya, and Cambodia, respectively, were friends/neighbors (64.7%), romantic partners (37.2%), and relatives (37.0%). Most episodes occurred inside perpetrators’ or victims’ homes in Haiti (60.4%), contrasted with outside the home in Kenya (65.3%) and Cambodia (52.1%). The most common time period for violence in Haiti, Kenya, and Cambodia was the afternoon (55.0%), evening (41.3%), and morning (38.2%), respectively. Adverse health effects associated with violence were common, including increased odds of transactional sex, alcohol abuse, sexually transmitted infections, anxiety/depression, suicidal ideation/attempts, and violent gender attitudes.
Differences were noted between countries in the prevalence, characteristics, and risk factors of sexual violence, yet associations with adverse health effects were pervasive. Prevention strategies tailored to individual locales are needed.