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Social reactions to rape: experiences and perceptions of women rape survivors and their potential support providers in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Muhimbili University of Health and Allied Sciences, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania.
Umeå University, Umeå, Sweden.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Medicine and Pharmacy, Faculty of Medicine, Department of Women's and Children's Health. (Internationell kvinno- & mödrahälsovård/Essen)
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2009 (English)In: Violence and Victims, ISSN 0886-6708, Vol. 24, no 5, 607-626 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Social reactions to rape are socioculturally determined and have a strong influence on the coping and recovery of the survivor. The existing knowledge on social reactions emanates from Western countries with limited research attention on non-Western populations, particularly sub-Saharan Africa. We aimed to establish the types and perceptions of social reactions that are expressed to rape survivors and people's intentions to express them to survivors of varied social backgrounds in Tanzania. Using triangulation of research methods, experiences of social reactions among rape survivors (n = 50) and nurses (n = 44) from a community in Tanzania were explored, and the intentions to express typical social reactions to rape survivors of different social backgrounds were established from a representative community sample (n = 1,505). Twelve typical social reactions were identified with the positive reactions more commonly mentioned than the negative reactions. Nondisclosure of rape events and distracting the survivor from the event were perceived as both positive and negative. A commercial sex worker was most vulnerable to negative reactions. The cultural influences of social reactions and implications for practical applicability of the results are discussed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2009. Vol. 24, no 5, 607-626 p.
National Category
Medical and Health Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-120713DOI: 10.1891/0886-6708.24.5.607ISI: 000207989100004PubMedID: 19852402OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-120713DiVA: diva2:303873
Available from: 2010-03-16 Created: 2010-03-16 Last updated: 2015-08-14Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Rape against Women in Tanzania: Studies of Social Reactions and Barriers to Disclosure
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Rape against Women in Tanzania: Studies of Social Reactions and Barriers to Disclosure
2010 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis assessed responses toward rape against women as experienced by the victims and victim supporters in the context of the interaction between victims, supporters, and formal agencies in Tanzania. The overall research design was based on triangulation with a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. A semi-qualitative study, in which free listings and semi-structured questionnaires were used, explored social reactions from 44 community nurses and 50 rape victims (Paper I). A tool developed from this first study was utilized for collecting data on people’s attitudes and their behavior toward rape and rape victims from a representative community sample of 1505 men and women aged 18-65 years (Paper II). Both studies helped to access suitable rape victims and supporters who participated in the third study to share experiences on the process of rape disclosure to formal and informal social networks (Papers III and IV). The results highlighted the salient social reactions and how rape victims perceived the impact of these reactions. Half of the participants interpreted rape situations based on social relationships, circumstances, and social status of the woman, rather than the legal definition. Two-thirds of the adults explained they would express negative social reactions toward a victim in some rape scenarios, and this correlated with their attitudes towards rape and rape victims. A variety of barriers in the informal and formal networks with potentially negative impacts on rape reporting, service utilization and, health outcomes were identified. In conclusion, successful interventions aimed at improving people’s response to rape, rape disclosure and, health outcomes in Tanzania should assume a holistic approach to address the negative factors identified at the individual, family and, community levels without forgetting the normative context that appears to underlie most decisions and practice.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2010. 55 p.
Digital Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Medicine, ISSN 1651-6206 ; 554
Rape, women, victim, supporter, social reaction, social network, community, Tanzania
National Category
Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Medicine
Research subject
Obstetrics and Gynaecology
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-122250 (URN)978-91-554-7788-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2010-05-25, Rosensalen, Akademiska sjukhuset, Uppsala, 09:00 (English)
Available from: 2010-04-29 Created: 2010-04-07 Last updated: 2010-05-18

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Lindmark, GunillaAxemo, Pia
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