+1 Recommend
0 collections
      • Record: found
      • Abstract: found
      • Article: found
      Is Open Access

      A harmful traditional practice exposing young girls to experience virgin pregnancy ( Shilshalo): a qualitative study in Argoba community, Amhara National Regional State, Ethiopia


      Read this article at

          There is no author summary for this article yet. Authors can add summaries to their articles on ScienceOpen to make them more accessible to a non-specialist audience.



          There are various harmful traditional practices and beliefs across the different parts of Ethiopia. Shilshalo, which is yet little known about, is one of these practices existing in Argoba, a community in Amhara National Regional State of Ethiopia. This study was conducted to explore the various features associated with the practice of Shilshalo.


          To address the objective of the study, qualitative approach with case study design was employed. Purposive sampling technique was used to select the participants of the study. Data were collected through interview and focus group discussion and analyzed using thematic qualitative analysis technique.


          This study found that Shilshalo is practiced by unmarried young boys and girls as a substitute for sexual intercourse. The actors conduct all activities performed during sexual intercourse except inserting the boy’s genital organ (penis) into the girl’s (vagina). The activities include warming up the girls’ body by hand, kissing and brushing the girl’s thigh and the areas around the outer part of the vagina with the erected penis. Shilshalo is practiced in two ways, i.e. between a boy and a girl, and between boys and a girl. This study also indicated that most members of the Argoba community including the actors consider Shilshalo as a beneficial cultural practice, yet the most shocking story is that some teenage girls experienced unwanted pregnancy without losing their virginity. In addition to virgin pregnancy, Shilshalo exposed girls to STIs, psycho-social problems and physical injuries.


          This study concluded that Shilshalo is a harmful traditional practice that severely affects the lives of girls. The overall health and social well beings of girls are affected by different saddles that came from it. It brings almost all kinds of consequences that the other harmful traditional practices such as female genital mutilation and early marriage bring. It is also worse than the other harmful traditional practices as it poses virgin pregnancy as an additional consequence. Therefore, it is suggested that international and national organizations working on issues related to harmful traditional practice should pay due attention to Shilshalo just like what they are doing with female genital mutilation and early marriage.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (10.1186/s12914-018-0179-x) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

          Related collections

          Most cited references 10

          • Record: found
          • Abstract: found
          • Article: not found

          Early marriage and HIV risks in sub-Saharan Africa.

           Melody Clark (2004)
          This article examines the effects of girls' early marriage on their risk of acquiring HIV/AIDS. By comparing several underlying HIV risk factors, it explores the counterintuitive finding that married adolescent girls in urban centers in Kenya and Zambia have higher rates of HIV infection than do sexually active unmarried girls. In both countries, we find that early marriage increases coital frequency, decreases condom use, and virtually eliminates girls' ability to abstain from sex. Moreover, husbands of married girls are about three times more likely to be HIV-positive than are boyfriends of single girls. Although married girls are less likely than single girls to have multiple partners, this protective behavior may be outweighed by their greater exposure via unprotected sex with partners who have higher rates of infection. These results challenge commonly held assumptions about sex within marriage.
            • Record: found
            • Abstract: found
            • Article: not found

            Early marriage, marital relations and intimate partner violence in Ethiopia.

            A considerable proportion of women worldwide are married during childhood. Although many studies have examined early marriage (before age 18), few have compared outcomes or correlates among girls married during different stages of adolescence or have focused on girls married very early (before age 15). Data from a population-based survey conducted in 2009-2010 in seven Ethiopian regions were used to examine early marriage among 1,671 women aged 20-24. Cross-tabulations and logistic regression were used to compare characteristics and contextual factors among girls married before age 15, at ages 15-17 or at ages 18-19 and to identify factors associated with selected marital outcomes. Seventeen percent of respondents had married before age 15 and 30% had married at ages 15-17. Most of those who married before age 18 had never been to school. Compared with young women who had married at ages 18-19, those married before age 15 were less likely to have known about the marriage beforehand (odds ratio, 0.2) and more likely to have experienced forced first marital sex (3.8). Educational attainment was positively associated with foreknowledge and wantedness of marriage and with high levels of marital discussions about fertility and reproductive health issues. Initiatives addressing the earliest child marriages should focus on girls who have left or never attended school. Given the vulnerability of girls married before age 15, programs should pay special attention to delaying very early marriages.
              • Record: found
              • Abstract: not found
              • Article: not found

              Puberty and adolescent sexuality


                Author and article information

                BMC Int Health Hum Rights
                BMC Int Health Hum Rights
                BMC International Health and Human Rights
                BioMed Central (London )
                20 November 2018
                20 November 2018
                : 18
                [1 ]ISNI 0000 0004 0439 5951, GRID grid.442845.b, Department of Gender and Development Studies, , Bahir Dar University, ; Bahir Dar, Ethiopia
                [2 ]Gender and Health Expert, Addis Ababa City Administration Rehabilitation Project Office, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
                © The Author(s). 2018

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2018

                Health & Social care

                shilshalo, harmful traditional practice, girls, argoba community, ethiopia


                Comment on this article