October 13, 2013 Comments Off on Sexual violence common among teens. Feeling responsible isn’t.
Sexual violence common among teens. Feeling responsible isn’t.
By Melissa Healy October 7, 2013
Nearly 1 in 10 young Americans between ages 14 and 21 acknowledges having perpetrated an act of sexual violence at least once, and 4% of a nationally representative sample of American kids reported attempting or completing rape, a new study finds.
While those most likely to report initiating unwanted sexual contact in their early to mid-teens were boys, girls were among the perpetrators as the age of respondents increased….
The research, published Monday in the journal JAMA Pediatrics, appears to be first to gauge how widespread sexual violence is among Americans of high-school and college age. It was based on surveys conducted between October 2010 and March 2012 with 1,058 people ages 14 to 21 who participated in a broader longitudinal study called “Growing Up With Media.”….
In all, 8% of those responding — 84 of 1,058 respondents — reported they had kissed, touched or made someone else do something sexual when they knew the person did not want to (characterized as “forced sexual contact”). About 3% reported they had gotten someone else to give in to sex when the perpetrator knew the other person did not want to (characterized as “coercive sex”). Also, 3% acknowledged attempting rape, meaning that he or she had been unable to force someone else to have sex. And 2% — a total of 18 individuals — said they had forced another person to have sex when they knew the person did not want to, a completed rape.
Coercive tactics, including arguing, pressuring, getting angry or making someone feel guilty, were most commonly reported by those who acknowledged attempted or completed rape. And the study found that 75% of the cases of sexual violence occurred in the context of a boyfriend-girlfriend relationship. Ten of the respondents — just under 1% — acknowledged having threatened or used physical force to get someone to engage in sex….
The study also found that perpetrators of sexual violence of all types were unlikely to accept responsibility for their acts. One in seven believed that he or she was “not at all responsible for what happened,” and almost 4 in 10 said they considered the victim somewhat or completely responsible for the reported incident. And only two of the respondents reported being arrested for the transgression….
Prevalence Rates of Male and Female Sexual Violence Perpetrators in a National Sample of Adolescents
Michele L. Ybarra, MPH, PhD1; Kimberly J. Mitchell, PhD2
JAMA Pediatr. Published online October 07, 2013. doi:10.1001/jamapediatrics.2013.2629
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.