Columns And Opinions
Sexual violence in Kenyan men highest among youth, data shows
Men in their 20s and 30s suffer sexual violence most, with those aged 20 to 24 being the biggest victims, the new Kenya Demographic and Health Survey (KDHS) 2022 has revealed.
The survey shows that while generally men suffer sexual violence at a lower rate as compared to women, different age groups of men suffer varied rates and that, today, the youthful population is more likely to be abused sexually.
Generally, 6.9 per cent of men aged between 15 and 54 years have suffered sexual violence at some point in their life, the KDHS shows, adding that 3.7 per cent of the men reported having suffered sexual violence within a year to the survey.
Narrowing down to small age groups, the survey shows that 8.1 per cent of men aged between 20 and 24 reported having suffered sexual violence in their life, with 5.5 per cent of the population indicating they had been abused sexually over the past year. This is the highest rate of sexual violence among Kenyan men, based on information provided by 921 men within the age group.
The survey shows that men aged between 30 and 39 come second among those most abused sexually, with 8 per cent of the 1,350 men who were interviewed indicating they have suffered sexual violence in their lives, while 3.7 per cent suffered the abuse within a year of the survey.
“13 per cent of women reported that they had experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives, and 7 per cent reported that they had experienced sexual violence in the last 12 months. A slightly lower proportion of men reported experiencing sexual violence; 7 per cent have ever experienced sexual violence, and 4 per cent experienced sexual violence in the 12 months preceding the survey,” KNBS stated.
The survey on the prevalence of sexual violence in the country showed a trend where the rate is lowest among boys aged 15 to 19 (4.8 per cent have ever experienced and 2.9 per cent experienced it in 12 months preceding the survey), followed by men aged 50-54 (6.3 per cent have ever experienced and 0.2 per cent of the 318 men interviewed experienced within a year preceding the survey).
It showed that 6.7 per cent of men aged 40-49 reported having ever experienced sexual violence, with 2.9 per cent of those interviewed had experienced the violence within a year preceding the survey.
Men aged between 25 and 29 reported the third highest rate of those who have experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives, but the second highest rate of those who had been sexually abused within a year preceding the survey, at 5.1 per cent.
This shows that in the 12 months preceding the survey, men in the age group 20 to 29 suffered sexual violence most, with an average of 5.3 per cent of those interviewed having been abused.
Men in urban areas also reported higher cases of sexual violence (8.5 per cent had ever been abused and 5.1 per cent within 12 months) than those living in rural Kenya (6.1 per cent had ever been abused and 3.2 per cent within 12 months).
On marital status, men who have been divorced, separated or widowed reported the highest cases of having ever been sexually abused (21.1 per cent), while also topping the list of men who had been abused within a year to the survey (10.9 per cent).
The biggest perpetrators of sexual violence to men, the DHS report shows, are current and former wives or intimate partners who cumulatively contribute to 94.7 per cent of sexual violence cases for men who have ever been married or ever had an intimate partner.
On the other hand, priests/religious leaders, in-laws and brothers/stepbrothers have no record of perpetrating sexual violence on men.
Sexual violence, however, continues to be high among women as the survey showed, where 13 per cent – nearly double men – aged between 15 and 49 reported having experienced sexual violence at some point in their lives.
“The percentage of women who have experienced sexual violence increases with age, from 7 per cent among those age 15-19 to 18 per cent among those age 40-49,” KNBS stated.
The survey did not categorise incidences of sexual violence on men by counties, as it did with women. On women, it showed that the incidences were highest in Bungoma (30 per cent), Murang’a (24 per cent), Homa Bay (23 per cent), and Embu (22 per cent).
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