SEXUAL HARRASSEMENT AND RETENTION OF THE GIRL CHILD IN SECONDARY SCHOOLS: A CASE OF RUBAGA DIVISION, KAMPALA DISTRICT, UGANDA


ABSTRACT:
The study investigated sexual harassment and retention of girls in secondary schools in Rubaga division with the objectives:
To identify the forms and nature of sexual harassment subjected to girls;
assess the rate of dropping out due to sexual harassment; determine the relationship between sexual harassment and retention of girls in schools and;
identify coping mechanisms that students adopt towards sexual harassment.
A descriptive survey design using self-administered questionnaires and semi-structured interviews was used. Data were collected from four secondary schools, including 255 students and 20 school authorities’ who filled questionnaires while some participated in face-to-face interviews.
Data from key informants was analyzed thematically. Data from the questionnaire was analyzed using descriptive statistics. The results on objective one reveal that sexual harassment is prevalent and presents itself in form of unwelcome physical, visual, verbal, or nonverbal conduct of a sexual nature from mainly teachers.
Respondents agreed that increased pressure for sex will push girls out of school. There was a positive significant relationship between the study variables with a Pearson product correlation of (r=.387, p<.01) and a regression analysis of (R= 0.224). This means that an increase in cases of sexual harassment will positively increase school dropout of girls.
The study recommends that Ministry of Education and Sports should reinforce the District Education Offices to put in place highly responsive sexual harassment prevention and support mechanism so that s h is detected and punished when it occurs and so that the harassers and harassed get the professional help they need. Schools should formulate and disseminate the school policy, the handling procedures and the related discipline actions on sexual harassment to students and their parents;
Government should enact strict laws that punish parents who withdraw their girl child from schools on issues relating to sexual harassment of for any reason whatsoever; Schools should arrange counseling activities according to the personal and social developmental needs of students to develop students’ positive values and attitudes, such as messages about gender equity and respect for others.