They are destroying our futures: Sexual violence against girls in Zambia's schools

Case Studies & Research
Women and Law in Southern Africa-Zambia
Cornell Law School, Avon Center for Women and Justice
Cornell Law School International Human Rights Clinic
69 p.

This report examines the problem of sexual violence against girls in Zambian schools. In Zambia, many girls are raped, sexually abused, harassed, and assaulted by teachers and male classmates. They are also subjected to sexual harassment and attack while travelling to and from school. Such abuse is a devastating and often overlooked manifestation of the gender-based violence that occurs in numerous settings in Zambia and other countries throughout the world. This report explores these issues from an international human rights perspective, drawing upon extensive desk research and interviews with 105 schoolgirls and many other stakeholders in Zambia’s Lusaka Province. The report presents new evidence about the nature, scope, and consequences of the problem of sexual violence in Zambian schools. It also illustrates the ways in which school-based sexual abuse implicates Zambia’s international and regional law obligations, and offers suggestions for preventing and responding to this serious human rights problem.

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