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Study: 10 Percent Of Young Adults Admit To Committing Sexual Violence

October 8, 2013
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Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online

A new study published on Monday in JAMA Pediatrics found that almost 10 percent of high school and college-age individuals have perpetrated some kind of sexual violence.

The study, which was based on the survey responses of nearly 1,100 participants between the ages of 14 and 21, built on previous research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that found over 75 percent of women who have been raped said it happened before the age of 25.

“When you talk to people who have been convicted of crimes, overwhelmingly they say [it all started in] adolescence,” study author Michele Ybarra of the Center for Innovative Public Health Research told National Geographic. “There’s reason to believe that sexually violent people emerge in adolescence.”

“This study was a first attempt to ask people about (sexual perpetration) and understand when it’s emerging,” she added.

In the study, volunteers were asked if they had ever engaged in a wide range of violent sexual behaviors, from sexual harassment to rape. Eight percent of participants said they had forced someone do something sexual that they did not want to, categorized as “forced sexual contact.”

Approximately three percent said they convinced someone to have sex when they knew the other person did not want to, which is considered to be “coercive sex.” While three percent of respondents said they had attempted rape – two percent, or 18 individuals, said they forced another person to have sex against their will, what researchers called a “completed rape.”

Researchers also found that 75 percent sexual violence incidents occurred between people who were dating.  The other 25 percent of incidents were perpetuated by someone the victim knew.

Ybarra said the results indicate that “stranger danger is not really the problem,” referring to the idea that victims of sexual violence are attacked by someone they don’t know.

She suggested that conversations about sex and healthy relationships could prevent many of these incidents that take place between people in some kind of relationship.

“It’s an uncomfortable conversation,” she said. “But it’s not just rape. Child abuse is more likely to be perpetrated by someone you know, and (these crimes) go into adulthood.”

Ybarra also noted that females, traditionally seen as victims, are increasingly reporting that they are perpetrators of sexual violence.

“Not long ago, males were asked the perpetrator questions and females were asked the victim questions,” she said. “We never appreciated the fact that males could be victims and females could be perpetrators.

“(This study) highlights the importance of asking both sexes both questions,” Ybarra added.

According to the study, females are more likely to assault older victims, while males tend to select younger victims. The researchers also found other differences in how males and females perpetuate sexual violence.

“Foresexual contact is similar for females and males,” Ybarra said. “But when you get into coercive and attempted rape, it does seem to differ,” meaning that females don’t commit rape as much as males, but are just as likely to force a male partner into foresexual contact.


Source: Brett Smith for redOrbit.com – Your Universe Online



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