Multilevel Responses to Sexual Violence in Schools in West Africa

Volume 51 Number 2
Published: September 23, 2020

With growing recognition of sexual and gender‑based violence (SGBV) occurring in schools, the governments of Burkina Faso and Benin, partnered with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), have attempted to implement systems of response within the school environment. This empirical study applied the socioecological framework to highlight the intersecting relationship of multiple contexts within society including the interpersonal, family, community, school, and national identities. The findings revealed inadequacies and possibilities for holistic action and accountability in both countries. Data were analysed from qualitative interviews with Beninese and Burkinabe government ministries, international and local NGOs, and community organisations. Barriers exposed complex difficulties in holding perpetrators accountable and sustainably moving towards collective action as a result of entrenched gender dynamics and social norms. However, there are pockets of action to protect victims and hold perpetrators responsible through considering communitarian ideals in addition to official policies. This study offers insight into two nations struggling to develop contextual responses of possibility.

From Issue: Vol. 51 No. 2 (2020) | Collective Action for Accountability on Sexual Harassment: Global Perspectives