Mentally Challenged Children in Africa: Victims of Sexual Abuse

Jabulani G. Kheswa

Abstract


The rate of sexual victimization of mentally retarded children is alarming and it goes unnoticed because the perpetrators could be parents, step- parents, relatives, well-respected individuals by family members, neighbours and educators. Drawing from labelling theory that the mentally retarded have low IQ, majority of perpetrators tend not to get arrested because of lack of evidence. Research indicates that educators struggle to identify the psychological, behavioural and physical symptoms of sexual abuse owing to their limited training. Having employed systematic review as methodology, this research study found that mentally retarded children are prone to HIV/AIDS, PTSD and feelings of helplessness owing to uninvolvement of parents, dysfunctional communities, poverty and their inability to differentiate between abuse and affection. Based on the findings, the recommendations are that: (1) extensive training for professionals, families and community members be executed to protect children with intellectual disability. Furthermore, the rights of the mentally retarded children must be respected in the court of law when reporting sexual abuse.

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n27p959


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This work is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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