One in Five Young Women Suffer Sexual Violence
Special Report - September 19, 2008
Approximately one in five young women in America report being forced into sex, with the majority reporting that the sexual assault occurred when they were teenagers, according to a new study from Child Trends. The study, “Forced Sexual Intercourse Among Young Adult Women,” was released September 12 and used data from the National Survey of Family Growth. It found that about 18 percent of young adult women between the ages of 18 and 24 report being forced into sexual intercourse at least once. Most of the young women who reported involuntary sexual intercourse said they were age 16 or younger at the time of the assault, including 13 percent who were age 11 or younger, 15 percent who were 12 to 14, and 30 percent who were 15 to 16 (27 percent were ages 17-18, and 15 percent were ages 19-24 when they first experienced forced sex). According to the study, the most common types of sexual force used were verbal pressure, physical pressure, and being held down physically. About one-third of the women said they were given alcohol or drugs, sexually abused by an older man, or threatened with physical harm. The Child Trends study also found that occurrences of forced sexual intercourse among young adult women are linked to other risky behaviors, including using intravenous drugs, prostitution, having sex with a man who has sex with other men, and/or having sex with an HIV-positive person.
“Sexual violence against women is never acceptable, and it continues to be a serious issue for parents, law enforcement, educators and policymakers. Even more disturbing is the study’s finding that most of the women who experienced sexual violence were teenagers at the time,” said Matt Lytle, director of research for the North Carolina Family Policy Council. “Sadly, comprehensive sex education advocates often use data like this to argue for increased access for minors to contraception and even abortion. This is a misguided approach that does not address the heart of sexual violence and, in the case of abortion, only compounds a woman’s suffering.”Our focus should be on doing all that we can to prevent young women from becoming the victims of non-voluntary sex as well as holding sexual offenders responsible for their actions.”
Copyright © 2008. North Carolina Family Policy Council. All rights reserved.