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Child sexual abuse in Mexico: a descriptive, qualitative study

Cicely A. Marston, Imperial College

Child sexual abuse (CSA) is a major global public health concern, yet very few studies of CSA exist in poorer countries. Mexico is no exception: almost no research about CSA exists and services tackling CSA are extremely limited. This study provides a descriptive profile of unwanted sexual contact in childhood in Mexico City, and its social context, with the overall objective of raising awareness of the problem and increasing understanding of its nature. During in-depth interviews with 152 young people, 33% of women and 18% of men disclosed personal experience of CSA. Participants were not selected for experiences of CSA. Expectations about gender roles shaped their experiences, willingness to disclose in childhood, and the effects of any disclosure. Abuse was maintained by social and family relationships and notions of respectability that impeded disclosure and action to prevent and end CSA.

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Presented in Session 83: Non-consensual sexual relations among young females and males in developing countries