1.1 Background to the Study

The problem of sexual abuse has received the attention of scholars from a variety of life domains, because the scourge seems to be an issue of immorality that has no regard for individual status, religious affiliation, wealth, education, or development of countries across the globe (Gowen, 2001; Berdahl, 2007; Dobbin, 2009; Menon et al., 2011).

The quest for modernity, which is a paradigm that surrounds democracy in politics, capitalism in economy, positivism in science etc, seems to have influenced its escalation in underdeveloped societies through acculturation. Ideas inherent in capitalist economy prompted women to abandon their traditional roles in the family for equal competition with men via education (Kofi, 2010). Prior acculturation, however, roles of women in the society were limited to their husband homes. They were doing well in home keeping, caring for the children and the aged. The confined roles of women at that point in time must have prevented traditional societies from experiencing serious problems of sexual abuse that we have today (Anugwomet al., 2010).

Apart from the economic, social and political factors that make women more vulnerable to sexual abuse than men; cultural factors play a prominent role. Cultural norms, which include male honour, masculinity and men’s sexual entitlement, foster societal acceptance of sexual abuse (World Health Organisation, 2002). The acceptance is reinforced by the traditional gender roles, which allows premarital and extramarital sex for male only. Hence, sex is perceived as a psychological necessity for male but largely considered inappropriate for women (Wasti and Cortina, 2002).

However, no reason could be used to justify sexual abuse in man’s society. The scourge is an absurdity not only in Christianity, but also in civil society and it points to the escalation of moral decadence in modern societies, with attendant effects on health and academic performance. Its escalation in secondary school system, where morality is expected to be used to complement academic performance is gradually becoming a growing concern in Nigeria. It is amazing and disturbing that this occurs in academia, saddled with the responsibility of moulding and filtering ground for building virile future leaders (Jega, 2013).

Sexual abuse is a global phenomenon that occurs across cultures and socio-economic groups. It has profound long-term negative consequences; it is a cruel, tragic occurrence, and a serious infringement of a child’s rights to health and protection (Sakelliadis et al., 2009). Sexual abuse remains a pervasive, but largely ignored issue in many parts of the world, particularly in Africa. This is true in Nigeria too, where reporting sexual abuse in general and child sexual abuse in particular would be regarded as embarrassing, frightening, and stigmatizing.

Although the escalation of this menace in the higher institutions might not be a surprise to well meaning Nigerians, bearing in mind the high level of indiscipline and rottenness prevailing in the Nigerian society, but its occurrence, prevalence and bearing on students’ academic performance in the secondary school systems call for a scholarly attention.

1.2 Statement of the Problem

Sexual abuse is a social problem that has spread and increased rapidly in our educational institutions; even the secondary school system is not free from its menace. In Nigeria, this social mal adaptation is considered an issue of serious concern as it adversely affects the lives and performance of students as well as the harmonious functioning of the entire structure of the society. Sexual abuse and other associated problems are inimical to the survival and effective functioning of human societies. A significant number of abortions, unwanted pregnancies, contraction of Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) and untimely deaths have been ascribed to the outcomes of sexual abuse (Amosun, Ige and Ajala, 2010).

In recent times, studies have emerged to address the social problem of sexual abuse in work settings in Nigeria (Yusuf, 2008; Kofi, 2010; Ige and Adeleke, 2012). While the existing few studies focused on the occurrence of sexual abuse at the universities level (Omolola, 2007; Okeke, 2011; Abe, 2012), knowledge about its prevalence at the secondary school level and how it affects students academic performance in Nigeria is relatively lacking. In other word, there are no studies examining the occurrence of sexual abuse at this level. Therefore, this study intends to transcend the limit of the above study by filling these gaps in knowledge; by exploring sexual abuse and students’ academic performance in senior secondary schools in Ojo LGA.

1.3 Purpose of the Study

The purpose of the study is to:

a. Examine the relationship between sexual abuse and students’ academic performance in senior secondary schools.

b. Examine the effect of sexual abuse on students’ academic performance.

1.4 Research Questions

The following research questions will guide the study;

1. What is the relationship between sexual abuse and students’ academic performance in senior secondary schools?

2. To what extent does sexual abuse affect students’ academic performance?

1.5 Research Hypotheses

The following hypotheses will be tested:

1. H0: There is no significant relationship between sexual abuse and students’ academic performance in senior secondary schools.

2. H0: There is no significant difference between sexual abuse and student’s academic achievement.