Posts Tagged ‘ rape ’

Unwanted Sexual Contact Common Among Teens

Tuesday, October 8th, 2013

A new study has found that forced sexual contact, from unwanted kisses to rape, are all too common among American teens.  Nine percent of the more than 1,000 young men and women surveyed admitted to using coercive tactics with unwilling partners.  More from NBC News:

From a hastily forced kiss to outright rape, violent or at least coerced sexual contact may be worryingly common among teens and young adults, researchers reported Monday.

They found 9 percent of youths aged 14 to 21 admitted to some kind of forced sexual contact, using tactics from guilt to threats and actual physical force. Half blamed their victims.

Four percent of the more than 1,000 young men and women surveyed admitted to having raped someone else, the researchers report in the American Medical Association journal JAMA Pediatrics.

But most who tried or completed rape said they didn’t use physical force – 63 percent of those who said they had forced someone to have sex against their will said they used guilt as their main tactic, while 32 percent said they used arguments and other verbal pressure.

And the problem behavior tends to really begin at around age 16, said Michele Ybarra of the Center for Innovative Public Health Research in San Clemente, California and Kimberly Mitchell of the University of New Hampshire.

Ybarra says the study doesn’t paint the whole picture and she says the findings should encourage other researchers to dig a little deeper into questions about sexual behavior in the teen years, and whether it’s possible to predict and even prevent sexual violence.

What is clear is that many teens are not getting the message that ‘no’ means no, she said.

“What we wanted to find was the intent to get somebody to do something sexually when they knew the person did not want to do it,” Ybarra said in a telephone interview.

It’s hard to know just how common the problem really is, or how representative the teens and young adults in the survey are of the whole population. They’d all been taking part in a broader survey of teen use of violent media that started in 2006, when most were about 12, Ybarra and Mitchell say.

“We know that adolescence is an important time when these types of behavior emerge,” Ybarra said.

The questions are very detailed and do not include words such as “rape”. The teens were asked questions such as “In the last 12 months, how often have you kissed, touched, or done anything sexual with another person when that person did not want you to?”

Image: Teen couple, via Shutterstock

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Legal Debate Erupts Over Courtroom Dogs’ Comforting Role for Young Victims

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

A recent New York court case in which a 15-year-old girl accused her father of raping and impregnating her has opened a wider debate on the role of service dogs in courtrooms.  Rosie, a golden retriever therapy dog trained to comfort people under stress, sat at the girl’s feet as she testified, providing her with warmth and nuzzles during the most upsetting moments of the testimony.

As The New York Times reports, though, the girls’ father is appealing his conviction on the grounds that Rosie was an undue influence.  The newspaper reports:

The new role for dogs as testimony enablers can, however, raise thorny legal questions. Defense lawyers argue that the dogs may unfairly sway jurors with their cuteness and the natural empathy they attract, whether a witness is telling the truth or not, and some prosecutors insist that the courtroom dogs can be a crucial comfort to those enduring the ordeal of testifying, especially children.

Arizona, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana and some other states have also allowed comfort dogs to accompany children to the witness stand.  The ruling in this appeal will likely impact the use of courtroom dogs in the future.

(image via: http://www.nytimes.com)

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