n Africa Insight - Non-consensual sex, school enrolment and educational outcomes in South Africa : sexuality, reproductive health and HIV/AIDS

Volume 37, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0256-2804


Sexual violence is a significant problem in South Africa. Such encounters bring psychological trauma, social stigma, and the risk of pregnancy, human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Existing qualitative research indicates that survivors have difficulty concentrating on school-work, with many reportedly losing interest and some leaving school. The relationship between these experiences and school enrolment and educational attainment has not been quantified in sub-Saharan Africa. Using a random sample of 14- to 24-year-olds in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, we find the experience of non-consensual sex to be associated with significantly lower chances of current school enrolment among males and females, and lower educational attainment and more school delays among females. Multivariate results show a significant negative relationship between non-consensual sexual experience and schooling progression amongst females.

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