Sexual Violence Occurrences Against Youths

Dr. Christina Sisti:

Photo by Louis Blythe on Unsplash

“The abused children feel so useless within that they become more vulnerable to exploitation in the future too.”  Patricia DsouzaWhen Roses are Crushed

Early sexual violence puts children at a higher risk of being raped again in adulthood.1
Youth Rape Percentages
Number in population
Approximately 8% experience rape or attempted rape
10 million
6% experienced rape
7 million
4% experienced rape involving drugs or alcohol
4 million
2% experienced attempted rape
2.6 million


Among female victims of a completed rape, an estimated 78.7% were first raped before the age 25 years (40.4% before age 18 years).2 Women in marginalized groups are affected by sexual violence at higher rates than their Caucasian counterparts. The following study shows the rates of rape among ethnic groups.
32.3% of multiracial women
27.5% of American Indian/Alaska Native women
21.2% of non-Hispanic black women
20.5% of non-Hispanic white women
13.6% of Hispanic women.2
The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey states; 35% of women who were raped as minors were also raped as adults compared to 10% of women who were not raped as minors and were raped as adults.
Based on the study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the survey by the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey sexual stereotypes do play a role in rapes. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) report the rates of sexual violence among adults, college age, and children and youth in their 2012 national representative survey of adults study.2


Nearly 1 in 5 (18.3%) women reported experiencing rape at some time in their lives. Approximately 1 in 20 women experienced sexual violence other than rape, such as being made to penetrate someone else, sexual coercion, unwanted sexual contact, or non-contact unwanted sexual experiences, in the 12 months prior to the survey.

College Age

37.4% of female rape victims were first raped between ages 18-24.1
In a study of undergraduate women, 19% experienced attempted or completed sexual assault since entering college.
42.2% of female rape victims were first raped before age 18.
29.9% of female rape victims were first raped between the ages of 11-17.
12.3% female rape victims were first raped when they were age 10 or younger.

Children and Youth

A 2011 survey of high school students found that 11.8% of girls from grades 9-12 reported that they were forced to have sexual intercourse at some time in their lives.


Among female rape victims, perpetrators were reported to be intimate partners (51.1%), family members (12.5%), acquaintances (40.8%) and strangers (13.8%).

Health Disparities

Among high school students, 12.5% of American Indian/Alaska Natives, 10.5% of Native Hawaiian/ Pacific Islander students, 8.6% of black students, 8.2% of Hispanic students, 7.4% of white students, and 13.5% of multiple-race students reported that they were forced to have sexual intercourse at some time in their lives.
Among adult women surveyed in 2010, 26.9% of American Indian/Alaska Natives, 22% of nonHispanic blacks, 18.8% of non-Hispanic whites, 14.6% of Hispanics, and 35.5% of women of multiple races experienced an attempted or a completed rape at some time in their lives.3
Rape results in about 32,000 pregnancies each year.3  The CDC reports that although the overall birth rate in the United States has fallen the instances of pregnancy among those in marginalized groups remains higher than other teens.3
Teen pregnancy carries a high cost to the girl and society. According to the CDC: “Teen childbearing can have negative health, economic, and social consequences for mothers and their children and costs the United States approximately $9.4 billion annually.
During 1991–2014, the birth rate among teens aged 15–19 years in the United States declined 61%, from 61.8 to 24.2 births per 1,000, the lowest rate ever recorded. Nonetheless, in 2014, the teen birth rate remained approximately twice as high for Hispanic and non-Hispanic black (black) teens compared with non-Hispanic white (white) teens, and geographic and socioeconomic disparities remain, irrespective of race/ethnicity.
Social determinants associated with teen childbearing (e.g., low parental educational attainment and limited opportunities for education and employment) are more common in communities with higher proportions of racial and ethnic minorities, contributing to the challenge of further reducing disparities in teen births.”4
1 National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: Division of Violence Prevention (2012).  Sexual Violence (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), Washington, D.C.: National Center for Injury Prevention and Control.
2 Breiding, Matthew, Smith, Sharon G., Basile, Kathleen C., Walters, Mikel, Chen, Jieru, and Merrick, Melissa T. (2014, September 5).  Prevalence and Characteristics of Sexual Violence, Stalking, and Intimate Partner Violence Victimization – National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, United States, 2011. (Report to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). Washington, D.C.: Surveillance Summaries.
3 Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (2012).  Sexual Facts at a Glance. Atlanta, Ga: Centers For Disease Control.
4  Romero, Lisa, Pazol, Karen, Warner, Lee, Cox, Shanna, Kroelinger, Charlan, Besera, Ghenet, Brittain, Anna, Fuller, TaleriaR., Koumans, Emilia, Barfield, Wanda (2016, April 29).  Reduced Disparities in Birth Rates Among Teens Aged 15–19 Years — United States, 2006–2007 and 2013–2014 (Publication Mortality and “Morbidity Weekly Report 65(16);409–414).Washington, D.C., Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Cross-posted with permission of SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd.

This article is extracted from the Research paper titled ‘America’s Public Policy on Sexuality: The Repression of Girls in Vulnerable Populations’  in Chapter 4 of the Safety Report by SAFIGI Outreach Foundation ‘Safety First for Girls’.



SAFIGI Outreach Foundation Ltd is a not for profit organization based in Zambia with a vision to raise a generation where girls are empowered, equipped and fulfilled in every aspect of their life, for the development of the entire world. To know more about SAFIGI’s goals and activities, visit

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