Experiences of sexual coercion among adolescent women: Qualitative findings from Rakai District, Uganda

Jennifer Wagman, Joy Noel Baumgartner, Cindy Waszak Geary, Neema Nakyanjo, William George Ddaaki, David Serwadda, Ron Gray, Fred Kakaire Nalugoda, Maria J. Wawer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

41 Scopus citations


Limited data from low-income countries are available on the continuum of coercive experiences, the contexts in which they occur, and how adolescent women perceive and respond to coercion. This article presents results from focus group discussions and in-depth interviews with pregnant and never pregnant sexually active female adolescents, aged 15 to 17, residing in Rakai District, Uganda, to examine sexual coercion, its context, and the links between coercion and adolescent reproductive health outcomes, including early sexual debut and pregnancy. Informants described multiple forms of sexual coercion, including coerced or forced intercourse, unwanted sexual touching, verbal harassment, and transactional sex. Sexual coercion was perceived to be a normal part of intimate relationships; in particular, informants felt that a woman's lack of decision-making authority, including choices on sexual encounters, was implicit to marriage. This information may help violence prevention programs develop a range of strategies for addressing sexual coercion among adolescents.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2073-2095
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Interpersonal Violence
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 2009


  • Adolescent pregnancy
  • Adolescents
  • Early sexual debut
  • Sexual coercion
  • Uganda

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Psychology
  • Applied Psychology


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