Prevalence And Psychological Impact Of Sexual Harassment Against Female Medical Students And Residents At Addis Ababa University College Of Health Sciences

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Background: Gender based violence and sexual harassment remains arnsubstantial issue facing women and girls around the world. Professionalrnwomen are not exempted, including women who join medical school.rnStudy objective: The objective of this study was to investigate thernprevalence and types of gender-based violence (GBV) and sexualrnharassment and associated psychological distress in female medicalrnstudents and residents at Addis Ababa University, College of HealthrnSciences (AAU CHS).rnMethod: The study design was a cross-sectional survey. Study participantsrninclude female clinical year medical students and residents at AAU CHS.rnThe sampling technique that was employed was total population samplingrnwith initial target sample size of 340, subsequently changed to 436 afterrninclusion of first year residents and new clinical year-1 students. ThernSexual Experience Questionnaire was used to measure gender-basedrnviolence and sexual harassment. Depressive symptoms were measuredrnusing the Patient Health Questionnaire 9-item version (PHQ-9). Traumaticrnstress symptoms were measured using the PC-PTSD scale and anxietyrnsymptoms were measured using the GAD-2. Open-ended questions werernused to ask about reporting the incidents, any help obtained, unmet needsrnand preferences for sources of help. The questionnaires were administeredrnas an anonymous self-administered questionnaire. Data were analyzedrnusing descriptive frequencies and negative binomial regression to look atrnthe association between GBV/sexual harassment and depressivernsymptoms, traumatic stress and anxiety symptoms.rnResults: Even though the questionnaire included sensitive questions, thernresponse rate appeared to be representative of the population. A total ofrn368 women participated; 65.7% were clinical students and 32.5% werernresidents. Over one quarter (26.2%) self-identified as having been sexuallyrnharassed at the university. Based on systematic screening with the SEQ,rnthe prevalence of sexual harassment among female medical students andrnresidents was substantially higher (81.8%); with 77.2% experiencing genderrnharassment, 70.6% experiencing unwanted sexual attention and 36.6%rnexperiencing sexual coercion. Of those who were sexually harassed, onlyrn3.2% reported the incident. After reporting, 99.3% did not receive anyrnsupport frommedical school and 97.9% did not receive any help from otherrninstitutions. From the women who had received help, 100% of themrnreported that it was inadequate.rn11.1% of the respondents indicated to have moderate depression while 4.1rn% of the participants indicated moderately severe and severe depressionrn(each). 38 respondents (10.3%) responded ‘’yes’’ for 4 out of the 5rnquestions on the PC-PTSD screening tool indicating possible PTSD. 14.1%rnof the respondents scored 3 points (the cutoff point) on the GAD-2rnindicating a possible anxiety disorder. Total sexual harassment score andrnsubscales were strongly associated with depression, traumatic stress andrnanxiety scores. The top three recommendations the women forwardedrnwere to take appropriate actions against the perpetrators, to empowerrnwomen and increase awareness about the problem.rnConclusions: The study signifies the presence of high prevalence of sexualrnharassment within the institution. Despite the high figure, there seems tornbe low perception of sexual harassment, under reporting and inadequaternresponse. One apparent impact is on women’s mental health. Participatingrnwomen identified key actions that need to be taken so that harassment canrnbe reduced and women who experience harassment can be betterrnsupported.

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Prevalence And Psychological Impact Of Sexual Harassment Against Female Medical Students And Residents At Addis Ababa University College Of Health Sciences

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