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Authors: Misra, Prianka
Advisors: Lockheed, Marlaine
Department: Woodrow Wilson School
Class Year: 2016
Abstract: South African society is rife with violence - sexual violence in particular. Sexual violence can cause victims to feel ashamed, isolated, and vulnerable. Consequently, child victims of sexual crimes may be unable to perform well in school. This thesis explores the negative impacts of sexual assault on the educational outcomes of South African girls. Do girls who report being sexually assaulted at school report missing school, having difficulty concentrating, having lower marks, or having negative views of the future more often than girls who report that they have not been sexually assaulted? My hypothesis was that female student sexual assault victims self-report these negative consequences more often than non-victims. My qualitative and quantitative approaches explore these research questions through on-site interviews in Cape Town and STATA analysis, respectively. The qualitative investigation finds that female sexual assault victims face logistical and legal difficulties in reporting; encounter discouraging family and peer attitudes towards pursuing justice for sexual offenses; and face socioeconomic challenges that aggravate the issue. The quantitative analysis found that that sexual assault had a significant negative effect on sexual assault victims’ self-reported school attendance, ability to concentrate, and academic marks. However, sexual assault victims were particularly resilient in their perceptions of their future opportunities compared to non-victims. Furthermore, although recent legislation that addresses school-based sexual assault may be responsible for increased reporting of sexual offenses from 2008 to 2012, my concluding chapter argues that South Africa must implement more national awareness campaigns; provincial protocols for key actors in sexual offense cases; sexual abuse education in schools; after-school care centers for children; in-school psychological counseling; and personnel training of educators, police officers and doctors in order to holistically address this problem. This thesis comprises five chapters. Chapter One is an introduction to the problem of sexual violence and an overview of victims in South Africa. The qualitative analysis in Chapter Two features 16 interviewees who discuss sexual assault in the South African context. Chapter Three describes the methodology and data in the National School Violence Study of 2012, a survey of more than 5,000 South African high school students. Chapter Three also explains the propensity score matching process that generated a group of female sexual assault victims and a similar group of female non-victims. The results and discussion of the quantitative analysis, which compares the two groups across six schooling variables, are the central topics of Chapter Four. Finally, Chapter Five explores current South African legislation aimed at combatting sexual assault on school premises and concludes with policy recommendations that address the qualitative and quantitative results of my analysis.
Extent: 100 pages
Type of Material: Princeton University Senior Theses
Language: en_US
Appears in Collections:Woodrow Wilson School, 1929-2017

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