Victimisation from intimate partner rape in Uganda: Sex differences, psychological concomitants, and the effect of educational level

Main Article Content

Brendah Nakyazze
Karin Österman
Kaj Björkqvist


Objective:  The aim of the study was to investigate victimization from intimate partner rape (IPR) in Uganda among both women and men, the effect of educational level, and psychological concomitants.

Method: A questionnaire was completed by 609 females and 420 males in Uganda. The mean age was 31.5 (SD 10.9) for females and 34.4 (SD 11.3) for males.

Results: Females reported significantly higher frequencies of victimization from IPR than males. Respondents with no education reported significantly higher frequencies of victimization than others. Respondents who had been more than average victimized from IPR scored significantly higher on depression and anxiety and had significantly lower self-esteem than others. Females who had been victimized more than average scored significantly lower on self-esteem than the other groups.

Conclusions: Not only females but also males were found to have been victimized from IPR. Victimization was linked to increased levels of negative psychological concomitants in both females and males.


Download data is not yet available.

Article Details

How to Cite
Nakyazze, B., Österman, K., & Björkqvist, K. (2020). Victimisation from intimate partner rape in Uganda: Sex differences, psychological concomitants, and the effect of educational level. Medical Science and Discovery, 7(8), 603-610.
Research Article


1 Campbell JC, Soeken KL. Forced sex and intimate partner violence: Effects on women’s health. Viol Women 1999;5:1017‒1035. doi:10.1177/10778019922181608

2 Weiss E, Gupta GR. Bridging the gap: Addressing gender and sexuality in HIV Prevention. Washington DC: International Center for Research on Women; 1998.

3 Black E, Worth H, Clarke S, Obol JH, Akera P, Awor A, Shabiti MS, Fry H, Richmond R. Prevalence and correlates of intimate partner violence against women in conflict affected northern Uganda: A cross-sectional study. Confl Health 2019;13:35. doi:10.1186/s13031-019-0219-8

4 World Health Organisation. Global and regional estimates of violence against women: prevalence and health effects of intimate partner violence and non-partner sexual violence. Geneva, Switzerland: Department of Reproductive Health and Research; 2013.

5 Bidwell L, White P. The family context of marital rape. J Fam Viol 1986;1:277‒287.

6 Drucker D. The common law does not support a marital exemption for forcible rape. Women’s Rights Law Reporter 1979;5:2‒3.

7 Bergen RK. Wife rape: Understanding the response of survivors and service providers. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage; 1996.

8 Minturn L, Grosse M, Haider S. Cultural patterning of sexual beliefs and behavior. Ethnol 1969;8:301‒318.

9 Rozee PD. Forbidden or forgiven? Rape in cross-cultural perspective. Psychol Women Q 1993;17:499‒514.

10 Yodanis CL. Gender inequality, violence against women, and fear: A cross-national test of the feminist theory of violence against women. J Interpers Viol 2004;19:655‒675.

11 Morrell R, Jewkes R, Lindegger G. Hegemonic masculinity/masculinities in South Africa: Culture, power, and gender politics. Men and Masculinities 2012;15:11‒30.

12 Decker MR, Latimore AD, Yasutake S, Haviland M, Ahmed S, Blum RW, et al. Gender-based violence against adolescent and young adult women in low- and middle-income countries. J Adolesc Health 2015;56:188‒196. doi:10.1016/j.jadohealth.2014.09.003

13 Kwagala B, Wandera SO, Ndugga P, Kabagenyi A. Empowerment, partner’s behaviours and intimate partner physical violence among married women in Uganda. BMC Public Health 2013;13:1112. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-1112

14 Koenig MA, Lutalo T, Zhao F, Nalugoda F, Wabwire-Mangen F, Kiwanuka N, et al. Domestic violence in rural Uganda: Evidence from a community-based study. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2003;81:53‒60.

15 García-Moreno C, Riecher-Rössler A. (Eds). Violence against women and mental health. Key Issues Ment Health 2013;178:1‒11.

16 Kouyoumdjian F, Calzavara L, Bondy S, O’Campo P, Serwadda D, Nalugoda F, et al. Risk factors for intimate partner violence in women in the Rakai community cohort study, Uganda, from 2000 to 2009. BMC Public Health 2013;13:566. doi:10.1186/1471-2458-13-566

17 Culbertson KA, Dehle C. Impact of sexual assault as a function of perpetrator type. J Interpers Viol 2001;16:992‒1007. doi:10.1177/088626001016010002

18 Mahoney P, Williams LM. Sexual assault in marriage: Prevalence, consequences and treatment of wife rape. New Hampshire: Family Research Laboratory; 1998.

19 Russell DEH. Rape in marriage. Indianapolis, IN: Indiana University Press; 1990.

20 Bennice JA, Resick PA. Marital rape: History, research, and practice. Trauma Violence Abuse 2003;4:228‒246.

21 Nakyazze B, Österman K, Björkqvist K. Sexual abuse and accepting attitudes towards intimate partner rape in Uganda. Medical Science and Discovery 2018;5:211‒219. doi:10.17546/msd.422907

22 Heise L, Ellsberg M, Gottemoeller M. Ending violence against women. Population Reports 1999;Series L(11).

23 Burt MR. Cultural myths and supports for rape. J Pers Soc Psychol 1980;38:217‒230. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.38.2.217

24 Parkinson D. Raped by a partner: Nowhere to go; no-one to tell. Wangaratta, Victoria: Women’s Health Goulburn North East; 2008.

25 Rennison CM, Welchans S. Intimate partner violence (Special report). Washington, DC: U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics, National Institute of Justice; 2000.

26 Tjadens P, Thoennes N. Prevalence, incidence, and consequences of violence against women: Findings from the National Violence against Women Survey. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, National Institute of Justice, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; 2000.

27 Straus M. Women's violence toward men is a serious social problem. In: Loseke DR, Gelles RJ, Cavanaugh MM (Eds.), Current controversies on family violence (pp. 55‒78). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications; 2005.

28 Archer J. Sex differences in aggression between heterosexual partners: A meta-analytic review. Psychological Bulletin 2000;126:651‒680. doi:10.1037/0033-2909.126.5.651

29 Fiebert M. Annotated bibliography: References examining assaults by women on their spouses/partners. Sexuality and Culture 1997;1:273‒286.

30 Straus MA. Thirty years of denying the evidence on gender symmetry in partner violence: Implications for prevention and treatment. Partner Abuse 2010;1:332‒362. doi:10.1891/1946-6560.1.3.33210.

31 Straus MA, Gelles R, Steinmetz SK. Behind closed doors: Violence in the American family. New York: Doubleday/Anchor Books; 2006.

32 Straus MA, Ramirez IL. Gender symmetry in prevalence, severity, and chronicity of physical aggression against dating partners by university students in Mexico and USA. Aggress. Behav. 2007;33:281‒290. doi:10.1002/ab.2019910.1002/ab.20199

33 Weiss KG. Male sexual victimization: Examining men’s experiences of rape and sexual assault. Men and Masculinities 2010;12:275‒298.

34 Hines DA, Douglas EM. Women's use of intimate partner violence against men: Prevalence, implications, and consequences. J Aggress Maltreatment Trauma 2009;18:572‒586. doi:10.1080/10926770903103099

35 Laroche D. Aspects of the context and consequences of domestic violence–Situational couple violence and intimate terrorism in Canada in 1999. Quebec, Canada: Institute de la Statistique; 2005.

36 Herman J. Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence ‒ from domestic abuse to political terror. New York: Basic Books; 1992.

37 Crowell NA, Burgess AW. Prevention and intervention. In: Crowell NA, Burgess AW, Eds. Understanding violence against women. Washington, DC: National Academy Press; 1996. pp. 93–141.

38 Golding JM. Intimate partner violence as a risk factor for mental disorders: A meta-analysis. J Fam Viol 1999;14:99‒132.

39 Golding JM, Siegel JM, Sorenson SB, Burnam MA, Stein JA. Social support sources following sexual assault. J. Community Psychol. 1989; 17:92‒107.

40 Temple JR, Weston R, Rodriguez BF, Marshall LL. Differing effects of partner and nonpartner sexual assault on women’s mental health. Violence Against Women. 2007;13:285‒297.

41 Veronen LJ, Kilpatrick DG, Resick PA. Treatment of fear and anxiety in rape victims: Implications for the criminal justice system. In: Parsonage WH, editor. Perspectives on victimology. Beverly Hills, CA: Sage; 1979.

42 Resick PA. The psychological impact of rape. J Interpers Violence 1993;8:223‒255. doi:10.1177/088626093008002005

43 Frank E, Stewart BD. Depressive symptoms in rape victims: A revisit. J Affect Disord 1984;7:77‒85.

44 Rothbaum BO, Foa EB, Murdock T, Riggs DS, Walsh W. A prospective examination of post-traumatic stress disorder in rape victims. J Trauma Stress 1992;5:455‒475.

45 Resick PA. Psychological effects of victimization: Implications for the criminal justice system. Crime & Delinqency 1987;33:468‒478. doi:10.1177/0011128787033004004

46 Dickinson LM, deGruy FV 3rd, Dickinson WP, Candib LM. Health-related quality of life and symptom profiles of female survivors of sexual abuse. Arch Fam Med 1999;8:35‒43. doi:10.1001/archfami.8.1.35

47 Frieze IH. Investigating the causes and consequences of marital rape. Signs 1983;8:532‒553.

48 Kilpatrick DG, Veronen LJ. The aftermath of rape: A three-year follow-up. Paper presented at the World Congress of Behavior Therapy, 17th Annual Convention of the Association for the Advancement of Behavior Therapy; 1983 December; Washington, DC.

49 Ansara DL, Hindin MJ. Psychological consequences of intimate partner violence for women and men in Canada. J Interpers Violence 2011; 26:1628‒1645. doi:10.1177/0886260510370600

50 Lindhorst T, Beadnell B. The long arc of recovery: Characterising intimate partner violence and its psychological effects across 17 years. Violence Against Women 2011;17: 480‒499. doi:10.1177/1077801211404548

51 Van der Kolk BA, Roth S, Pelcovitz D, Sunday S, Spinazzola J. Disorders of extreme stress: The empirical foundation of a complex adaptation to trauma. J Trauma Stress 2005;18:389‒399. doi:10.1002/jts.20047

52 Testa M, Leonard KE. The impact of marital aggression on women's psychological and marital functioning in a newlywed sample. J Fam Violence 2001;12:115‒130.

53 Resick PA. Reactions of female and male victims of rape or robbery. Final report. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice; 1988.

54 Derogatis LR. Brief Symptom Inventory. Baltimore, MD: Clinical Psychometric Research; 1975.

55 Rosenberg M. Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press; 1965.

56 World Medical Association. World Medical Association Declaration of Helsinki. Ethical principles for medical research involving human subjects. Bulletin of the World Health Organization 2013;79:373‒374.

57 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.