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Saturday, September 30, 2023

Scary numbers kick off sexual abuse awareness month in the U.S.

sexual abuse
Pamela Cruz. Peninsula 360 Press [P360P].

Sexual harassment, assault and abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, sex, race and gender, and can occur in a variety of settings, including the home, school, recreational spaces, and even online.

In the U.S., starting on April 6 and for a whole month, awareness will be raised about a problem that does not seem to end and that grows annually, so it is necessary to reflect and support victims and survivors of sexual violence.

According to figures from the National Sexual Violence Resource Center ?NSVRCApproximately 1 in 5 women - 21.3 percent - in the U.S. reported having been raped or suffered an attempted rape at some point in their lifetime, including forced full penetration, attempted forced penetration, or full penetration facilitated by alcohol or drugs.

The organization notes that, for men, approximately 2.6 percent of men experienced a completed or attempted rape victimization in their lifetime, while 1 in 14 men - 7.1 percent - in the U.S. were forced to penetrate another person - attempted or completed - at some point in their lives.

According to the most recent statistics, approximately 1 in 6 women and 1 in 10 men experienced sexual coercion, i.e., unwanted sexual penetration after being pressured in a non-physical manner.

On the other hand, the majority of female victims of completed or attempted rape first experienced such victimization at a young age, with 81.3 percent reporting that it first occurred before the age of 25.

Thus, among female victims of attempted rape, 43.2 percent reported that their first attack occurred before the age of 18; 30.5 percent between the ages of 11 and 17; and 12.7 percent at age 10 or younger.

In the case of men, the majority of victims - 70.8 percent - of completed or attempted rape reported that their first experience occurred before the age of 25.

According to an analysis of data from the National Crime Victimization Survey - NCVS, during 2005-2014, 15.8 percent of rape or sexual assault victims experienced two or more rape or sexual assault victimizations.

Meanwhile, the CDC's Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) indicated that, nationally, 7.4 percent of youth had been physically forced to have sex in their lifetime.

The prevalence rate for women was 11.3 percent and 3.5 percent for men. While having been forced to have sex was higher among gay, lesbian and bisexual students - 21.9 percent - than among heterosexual students - 5.4 percent.

He also explained that as of 2018, nearly one in 10 students ?9.7 percent? had been forced to do "sexual things" ?e.g., kissing, touching, or being physically forced to have sex? that they did not want to do, one or more times.

The CDC also details that childhood sexual abuse is the strongest predictor of adult sexual victimization. "Experiencing sexual abuse as a minor correlates with children and adolescents being more likely to experience sexual assault in adulthood."

NISVS found that 35 percent of women who were raped before age 18 were also raped as adults, compared with 10 percent of women who were raped as adults but did not experience child sexual abuse.

Meanwhile, an analysis of nearly 200 independent studies involving more than 230,000 adult participants found that having been sexually assaulted is associated with a significantly increased risk of anxiety, depression, suicidal tendencies, post-traumatic stress disorder, substance abuse, obsessive-compulsive disorder and bipolar disorder.

The 2011 NISVS data revealed that the majority of victims of all types of sexual violence knew the perpetrator. Nearly half-46.7 percent-of female rape victims had at least one perpetrator who was an acquaintance, and 45.4 percent of female rape victims had at least one perpetrator who was an intimate partner.

In the case of male victims, 44.9 percent were raped by an acquaintance and 29 percent were raped by an intimate partner.

The CDC details that child sexual abuse is often committed by someone the victim knows and trusts. Girls under 18 who are raped identified their perpetrators as: Acquaintance: 43.6 percent; current or former intimate partner: 28.8 percent; family member: 27.7 percent; person in a position of authority: 4.5 percent; and by a stranger: 10.1 percent.

Pamela Cruz
Pamela Cruz
Editor-in-Chief of Peninsula 360 Press. A communicologist by profession, but a journalist and writer by conviction, with more than 10 years of media experience. Specialized in medical and scientific journalism at Harvard and winner of the International Visitors Leadership Program scholarship from the U.S. government.


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