PREVALENCE OF SEXUAL ABUSE AMONG MEDICAL AND NURSING STUDENTS IN PUNJAB, INDIA
Sobti Praveen C*, Biswas Gautam**, Taneja Ashima***, Sharma Jagjiv****, Singh Daljit*****, Kaur Jasbir******
ssociate Professor, Department of Pediatrics,*, Assistant Professor, Department of Forensic Medicine**, Assistant Professor, Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology***, Professor & Head, Department of Forensic Medicine****, Principal & Professor, Department of Pediatrics*****, Principal, College of Nursing, Dayanand Nursing College & Hospital, Ludhiana, Punjab. ******
Aim: To determine the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse among medical and nursing students of a college in Punjab, India.

Method: Five hundred and forty two subjects between 17 to 26 years, from Dayanand Medical and Nursing College filled out a questionnaire, in absolute privacy, to gather demographic and sexual abuse information about participants. Demographic data included age, gender, residence and parental income levels. Detailed information about the sexual abuse experience was also recorded. It included the perpetrator, age of abuse onset, frequency, time, location of abuse, disclosure and the abuse memories.

Statistical analysis was done using chi-square and Student t-test wherever applicable.
Results
The participating students constituted 27.3% of males and 71.8% of females. The overall prevalence rate of any form of childhood sexual abuse was 34%. The type of abuse ranged from mild (verbal sexual suggestions), moderate (fondling) to severe forms (vaginal, oral or anal intercourse). The most common type of abuse reported was in the form of showing pornographic material and touching breasts. Only 10.6% are victims of recurrent abuse. The minimum age of victims at the first incident of abuse was less than 6 years (3.2%) while majority (44.7%) experienced after 16 years of age. The abuse was reported in 62% of cases in location outside the victims' residence like on the streets, neighbours place, in the park or school. Males were found to be abuser in 84% cases and in 51.6% the abuser was closely related to the victims. In 59% subjects, the time of abuse was after 2 pm. Almost 52% of the victims disclosed their sexual victimization to others and 61.2% of the reported incidents were not followed up and were asked to forget about the incident. Seventeen percent currently experience abuse memories. The other longterm impact of abuse was alcohol or drug addiction (46.1%), difficulty in establishing relationship (21.2%), unwanted scenes flashing in dreams (20.7%), fear of certain people in 19% of subjects.
Conclusion
These results provide baseline information of prevalence of child sexual abuse. Though this study is based on the recall memory of students, it suggests low prevalence of childhood sexual abuse in this part of India. Some of the students may not have disclosed or may have forgotten about the incident.
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