Perceptions of sexual coercion among young women in Uganda

Manvir Kaur Hayer (Intercalated BSc in International Health, University of Leeds, Leeds, UK)

Journal of Health Organization and Management

ISSN: 1477-7266

Publication date: 7 September 2010



This paper sets out to explore Ugandan young women's definitions and perceptions of sexual coercion.


A qualitative study was conducted with seven young women in rural Uganda. Participants filmed videos, wrote stories, made drawings and participated in transect walks before analysing their data through formal and informal discussions.


Forced sex is defined narrowly to mean only rape. Verbal forms of sexual coercion were recognised, but only after some discussion. Verbal coercion is referred to as “abusing” or “convincing”. Young women are commonly pressured into consenting to have sex, despite what they really want, owing to the socio‐cultural circumstances. Young women in Uganda are significantly tolerant of sexual coercion. This tolerance appears to arise from power differentials between genders, and the socio‐cultural environment shaping their lives.


The paper improves understanding of young women's definitions and perceptions of sexual coercion, which is essential to provide effective violence prevention programmes. It also suggests that further research is warranted in this field.



Kaur Hayer, M. (2010), "Perceptions of sexual coercion among young women in Uganda", Journal of Health Organization and Management, Vol. 24 No. 5, pp. 498-504.

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