Adolescent women are at a higher risk for sexual violence than any other age group. Part of the reason for this is the large number of date/acquaintance rapes which occur at this age. This is coupled with the fact that many adolescents are victims of sexual abuse and incest as well. Due to past or ongoing sexual abuse, teens with these experiences are more likely than their non-abused peers to participate in “delinquent” teenage behaviors including those which result in school problems, conflict with authority, early sexual behavior, and eating problems. These behaviors may help the teen escape from jeopardy and/or serve as a cry for help.
- The risk of rape is four times higher for women aged 16 to 24, the prime dating age.
- Young women between the ages of 14 and 17 represent an estimated 38% of those victimized by date rape.
- Studies indicate that dating violence affects at least 1 in 3 teen couples. It is one of the major sources of violence in teen life.
Effects of sexual assault on teenagers:
fear of recurrence
feelings of humiliation/shame/embarrassment
anger at the assailant
fears of impact on peer relations
wish to change environment, e.g. schools
concerns re: body image
withdrawal from family and friends
school performance suffers
parents fear sexual problems will follow
sadness re: “sexualized child,” loss of innocence