Introduction: Sexual assault is a severely traumatic experience that disproportionally affects women and girls. Yet there is limited information on the subject in our environment. This study was conducted to determine the trend and pattern of sexual assault among Nigerians.
Methods: A retrospective study of sexual assault victims managed at a large clinic in south west Nigeria. Victims were identified from the programme data base and case files retrieved from medical records department. Relevant information was extracted and managed with SPSS for windows version 19.
Results: Steady increase in the proportion of reported cases of sexual violence over the years (P < 0.0001) was observed. Sexual assaults were recorded among the males (6.1%), although female victims were in the majority (93.9%). Sexual assault was found to be higher in person's <20 years and the unmarried. Most sexual assault occurred during the day time. Assailants were mostly persons known to the victim (52.0%) and the assault occurred mostly in the assailants' house or office (48.5%). Sexual assault through vaginal route only (87.2%) was the most common route of sexual assault. Threat of violence (31.1%) and physical force (29.6%) was the common methods for overcoming the victims. Follow up was completed by 75.0% of the victims.
Conclusion: Sexual assault is common in our environment, with increasing prevalence and change in pattern. Young persons aged less than 20 years constitutes the majority of victims and assailants were mostly persons known to them. The current public education on the evils of sexual violence should be intensified.
Keywords: Nigeria; Sexual assault; rape; sexual violence; women.