Sexual abuse and accepting attitudes towards intimate partner rape in Uganda

Main Article Content

Brendah Nakyazze
Karin Österman
Kaj Björkqvist


Objective:  The aim was to study sexual abuse, accepting attitudes towards intimate partner rape and psychological concomitants in intimate partner relationships in Uganda.

Method: A questionnaire was completed by 315 respondents (174 females and 141 males). The mean age for females was 31.7 years (SD = 10.3) and 33.6 (SD = 12.4) for males.

Results: Females scored significantly higher than males on victimisation from aggression due to denial of sex, victimisation from sexual abuse, and psychological concomitants of intimate partner rape. The acceptance rate for rape in intimate relationships was high, only one percent among females and two percent among males reported zero tolerance. Victimisation from sexual abuse as well as psychological concomitants of intimate partner rape were significantly higher among respondents who had completed only primary school compared to those with a higher education. Accepting attitudes towards rape in intimate relationships were positively correlated with age, no sex differences were found. Respondents with higher educational levels reported significantly lower levels of acceptance of intimate partner rape. For females, but not for males, accepting attitudes correlated positively with both victimisation and psychological concomitants.

Conclusions: Victimisation from sexual abuse, psychological concomitants and accepting attitudes towards intimate partner rape were all related to low educational level. Reasons for the high levels of accepting attitudes towards intimate partner rape especially among female victims are discussed.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Nakyazze, B. ., Österman, K. ., & Björkqvist, K. . (2018). Sexual abuse and accepting attitudes towards intimate partner rape in Uganda. Medical Science and Discovery, 5(5), 211–219. Retrieved from
Research Article


1 Mahoney P Williams LM. Sexual assault in marriage: Prevalence, consequences and treatment of wife rape. In: Jasinski JL, L. M. Williams LM, editors. Partner violence: A comprehensive review of 20 years of research (pp. 113-163). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 1998.
2 World Health Organisation. World report on violence and health. Geneva, Switzerland: WHO Library Cataloguing-in-Publication Data; 2002.
3 Rozee PD. Forbidden or forgiven? Rape in cross-cultural perspective. Psychol Women Q 2002;17:499-514.
4 Searles P, Berger RJ. The current status of rape reform legislation: An examination of state statutes. Women’s Rights Law Report 1987;10:25-43.
5 Minturn L, Grosse M, Haider S. Cultural patterning of sexual beliefs and behavior. Ethnol 1969;8:301-318.
6 Weiss E, Gupta GR. Bridging the gap: Addressing gender and sexuality in HIV prevention. 1998 Washington DC: International Center for Research on Women.
7 Koss M, Gidycz C, Wisniewski N (1987). The scope of rape: Incidence and prevalence of sexual aggression and victimization in a national sample of higher education students. J Consult Clin Psychol 1987;55:162-170.
8 Russell DEH. Rape in marriage. 1990 New York: Macmillan Press.
9 Barshis V. The question of marital rape. Women’s Stud Int Forum 1983;6:383-393.
10 Toubia N. Female genital mutilation: A call for global action. 1993 New York: Women Ink.
11 Bergen RK. Wife rape: Understanding the response of survivors and service providers. 1996 Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
12 Finkelhor D, Yllo K. License to rape: Sexual abuse of wives. 1985 New York: Holt, Rinehart & Winston.
13 Augustine RI. Marriage: The safe haven for rapists. J Fam Law 1990-1991;29:559-590.
14 Frese B, Moya M, Megias J. Social perception of rape: How rape myth acceptance modulates the influence of situational factors. J Interpers Viol 2004;19:143-161.
15 Kirkpatrick C, Kanin E. Male sex aggression on a university campus. Am Soc Rev 1957;22:52-58.
16 Massaro T. Experts psychology, credibility and rape: The rape trauma syndrome issue and its implications for expert psychological testimony. Minnesota Law Review 1985;69:395-470.
17 Tjaden P, Thoennes N. Full report of the prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women. Washington, DC, US Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs; 2000.
18 Mooney J. The hidden figure: Domestic violence in north London. London, UK: Middlesex University; 1993.
19 UN Women. Global database on violence against women. 2016. 20 Campbell JC, Soeken KL. Forced sex and intimate partner violence: Effects on women's risk and women's health. Viol Women 1999;5:1017-1035. doi:10.1177/10778019922181608 21 American Psychiatric Association. Supplement to diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Am Psychiatric Pub 2017.
22 Frieze IH. Investigating the causes and consequences of marital rape. Signs 1983;8:532-553.
23 Kessler RC, Sonnega A, Bromet E, Hughes M, Nelson CB. Posttraumatic stress disorder in the national comorbidity survey. Arch of General Psychiatr 1995;52:1048-1060.
24 Wanjala CW. Marital rape: Is it a crime or a conjugal right? Daily Monitor; 2013 March 16.
25 Polavarapu A. Uganda’s Marriage and Divorce Bill on the table again. IntLawGrrls 2013. 26 Rondenburg FA, Fantuzzo JW. The measure of wife abuse: Steps toward the development of a comprehensive assessment technique. J FamViol 1993;8.203-228.
27 Perilloux C, Duntley JD, Buss DM. The cost of rape. Arch of Sex Behavior 2012;41:1099-1106.
28 Faravelli C, Giugni A, Salvatori S, Ricca V. Psychopathology after rape. Am J Psychiatr 2004;65:634-651.
29 World Medical Association. Declaration of Helsinki: Ethical Principles for Medical Research Involving Human Subjects. JAMA 2013;310:2191-2194.
30 Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity. Responsible conduct of research and procedures for handling allegations of misconduct in Finland. Helsinki: Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity. 2012.