Many New York teenagers victims of sexual violence: survey

June 28th, 2008 - 6:59 pm ICT by IANS  

New York, June 28 (IANS) A survey of 1,300 high school students here has revealed that 16.2 percent of them have been subjected to sexual violence, and in most cases the victims knew the perpetrators. The three-year, comprehensive survey of students aged between 13 and 21 years, with 15 or 16-year-olds being in the majority, found that 16.2 percent of the teenagers had suffered sexual violence - a much higher figure than the national average of 7 to 10.2 percent.

The survey by New York City Alliance Against Sexual Assault in collaboration with Columbia University revealed that 89 percent of the victims reported knowing the perpetrator of the violence.

Twentyeight percent of the perpetrators of sexual violence against their dating partners also carried a weapon in the past month.

Sixty percent who were physically violent with their dating partners also reported having engaged in other physical fights in the last year. Among the victims, more than a quarter or 27.4 percent reported being pushed by a partner and 17 percent reported having been slapped or hit.

Almost 10 percent of students who were dating said their partners touched them sexually against their wishes, while 6.7 percent said they were forced into having sex.

Less than half or 41.3 percent who identified themselves as the victim of physical or sexual dating violence told someone about those experiences, reports Eurekalert.

Seventy-two percent told friends first about their experience. Only 12.8 percent first told a parent about the violence and 11.5 percent first told another adult.

Only 24.4 percent of youth experiencing sexual or physical dating violence sought help from a health professional, teacher or guidance counsellor.

Victims of physical dating violence also reported poorer health status (28 percent) and lower self-esteem (25 percent).

“We know the long term adverse consequences on physical and emotional ill health from partner violence among youth,” said Leslie Davidson, professor of clinical Epidemiology, Columbia University, who led the study.

The complete study will be released in July.

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