Pediatrics article: Sexual abuse prevalent in teen population

10 Oct

Moi wrote about teen dating violence in Study: 1 in 3 teens are victims of dating violence: Many adults would be shocked by this report from the Chicago Tribune that many teens find dating violence normal
Ed Loos, a junior at Lake Forest High School, said a common reaction among students to Chris Brown‘s alleged attack on Rihanna goes something like this:

“Ha! She probably did something to provoke it.” In Chicago, Sullivan High School sophomore Adeola Matanmi has heard the same. “People said, ‘I would have punched her around too,’ ” Matanmi said. “And these were girls!” As allegations of battery swirl around the famous couple, experts on domestic violence say the response from teenagers just a few years younger shows the desperate need to educate this age group about dating violence. Their acceptance, or even approval, of abuse in romantic relationships is not a universal reaction. But it comes at a time when 1 in 10 teenagers has suffered such abuse and females ages 16 to 24 experience the highest rates of any age group, research shows.

The teens interviewed by the Chicago Tribune placed little worth on their lives or the lives of other women. If you don’t as the old ad tag line would say “don’t think you are worth it” why would anyone else think you are worthy of decent treatment?

Nancy Shute reported in NPR’s Many Teens Admit To Coercing Others Into Sex:

Almost 1 in 10 high school and college-aged people have forced someone into sexual activity against his or her will, a study finds. The majority of those who have done it think that the victim is at least partly to blame.
The results come from a multiyear study funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that was designed to look for the roots of adult sexual violence. Most adult perpetrators say they first preyed on another while still in their teens.
In adulthood, more than 1 million people are the victims of rape or sexual assault each year, according to the National Institutes of Justice. Domestic violence affects more than 2 million adults a year.
A multiple-choice online survey conducted in 2010 and 2011 asked 1,058 teenagers and young adults, ages 14 to 21, whether they’d ever “kissed, touched, or done anything sexual with another person when that person did not want you to?”
Nine percent said yes. Eight percent had kissed or touched someone when they knew the other person did not want to. Three percent got someone to give in to unwilling sex. Three percent attempted to rape the person, and 2 percent completed a rape. (The numbers don’t add up because some perpetrators admitted to more than one behavior.)
This may be the first survey to ask questions like these, and the researchers caution that because of the relatively small number of youths involved, the results aren’t definitive. But they are certainly chilling.
“I don’t get creeped out very often,” says Michele Ybarra, lead researcher of the study, which was published online in JAMA Pediatrics. “But this was wow.”
When asked who was to blame, half of the perpetrators said the victim was completely responsible; one-third said it was their own fault. “If half of the perpetrators felt the victim was responsible for this, we need to do something,” Ybarra, who is president and research director of the Center for Innovative Public Health in San Clemente, Calif.
Sixteen seems to be the age when sexual coercion becomes a real possibility, at least for boys. Almost half of the study participants said they first forced someone to have sexual activity when they were 16. But by age 18, girls had become much more involved in preying on others, to the point where they were almost as likely to be perpetrators as were boys.
Three-quarters of the victims were in a romantic relationship with the perpetrator.
The coercion used was almost always psychological, not physical. The most common tactics for forcing or trying to force sex were guilt, deliberately getting the victim drunk or arguing with or pressuring the victim. Five percent threatened to use physical force, and 8 percent did. The survey used the federal Bureau of Justice definition of rape, which includes psychological coercion as well as physical force.
The survey also looked at media use and found that perpetrators of sexual violence were more likely to watch violent X-rated materials than were the others.
By now most parents reading this are probably ready to hide. But Ybarra tells Shots these numbers show that parents need to act and well before their children are 16.
“We absolutely need to have conversations with our kids about what healthy sex is and what unhealthy sex is,” she says. Parents could say, “‘If you have to convince your partner, maybe that’s not the right way to have sex.’ Even simple messages like that are important.”
Related NPR Stories
Teen Sexual Assault: Where Does The Conversation Start?
How Should We Be Talking About Sex?


Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators in a National Sample of Adolescents ONLINE FIRST
Michele L. Ybarra, MPH, PhD1; Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD2
[+-] Author Affiliations
1Center for Innovative Public Health Research, San Clemente, California
2Crimes Against Children Research Center, University of New Hampshire, Durham
JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 07, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2629 Text Size: A A A .Published online
Comments .ABSTRACT.
ABSTRACT | METHODS | RESULTS | DISCUSSION | CONCLUSIONS | ARTICLE INFORMATION | REFERENCES ..Importance Sexual violence can emerge in adolescence, yet little is known about youth perpetrators—especially those not involved with the criminal justice system.
Objective To report national estimates of adolescent sexual violence perpetration and details of the perpetrator experience.
Design, Setting, and Participants Data were collected online in 2010 (wave 4) and 2011 (wave 5) in the national Growing Up With Media study. Participants included 1058 youths aged 14 to 21 years who at baseline read English, lived in the household at least 50% of the time, and had used the Internet in the last 6 months. Recruitment was balanced on youths’ biological sex and age.
Main Outcomes and Measures Forced sexual contact, coercive sex, attempted rape, and completed rape.
Results Nearly 1 in 10 youths (9%) reported some type of sexual violence perpetration in their lifetime; 4% (10 females and 39 males) reported attempted or completed rape. Sixteen years old was the mode age of first sexual perpetration (n = 18 [40%]). Perpetrators reported greater exposure to violent X-rated content. Almost all perpetrators (98%) who reported age at first perpetration to be 15 years or younger were male, with similar but attenuated results among those who began at ages 16 or 17 years (90%). It is not until ages 18 or 19 years that males (52%) and females (48%) are relatively equally represented as perpetrators. Perhaps related to age at first perpetration, females were more likely to perpetrate against older victims, and males were more likely to perpetrate against younger victims. Youths who started perpetrating earlier were more likely than older youths to get in trouble with caregivers; youths starting older were more likely to indicate that no one found out about the perpetration.
Conclusions and Relevance Sexual violence perpetration appears to emerge earlier for males than females, perhaps suggesting different developmental trajectories. Links between perpetration and violent sexual media are apparent, suggesting a need to monitor adolescents’ consumption of this material. Victim blaming appears to be common, whereas experiencing consequences does not. There is therefore urgent need for school programs that encourage bystander intervention as well as implementation of policies that could enhance the likelihood that perpetrators are identified.

Advice to Teens in Abusive Relationships

Terry Miller Shannon gives teens advice about avoiding abusive relationships She advises teens to watch for the following danger signs:

1. Sweeping you off your feet and declaring love immediately. This is the number one sign of a potentially battering relationship.

2. Jealousy: Not wanting you to have other friends. Thinking everyone around WANTS you. Expecting you to spend every second with him. Sorry, extreme jealousy isn’t a compliment – it’s a problem.

3. Controlling behavior: Keeping track of whom you’re with and where you are. Telling you what to wear. Picking your friends. Keeping you from getting a job. Taking your money. Threatening to commit suicide, to spread gossip about you, or out you if you’re part of a same-sex couple (gay and lesbian dating violence is under-reported due to pressures not to go public).

4. Violence (physical, mental, or sexual): Punching the wall. Yelling. Insults. Name-calling. Isolating you from family or friends. Slamming the door. Insisting on any kind of unwanted sexual activity. Throwing things. Pinching, pushing, spanking…enough said?

Bottom line: If you’re uncomfortable with your relationship, something’s wrong. Mind your instincts. Be realistic – don’t expect your mate to change. Don’t believe him when he tells you the way he acts is your fault.

Popular culture makes teens who are not involved in activities as “couples” seem like outcasts. Too often, teens pair up before they are mature enough and ready for the emotional commitment. The more activities the girl is involved in and the more sponsored group activities, where teens don’t necessarily have to be in dating relationships, lessen the dependence on an abusive relationship.


The ‘Animal House’ attitude of some college administrators doesn’t take rape seriously

A tale of rape from Amherst: Sexual assault on campus

Sexual assault on college campuses

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