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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Thursday, June 20th, 2013
The rate of infection with the human papillomavirus (HPV) has decreased significantly among teenagers since a vaccine against the virus was introduced in 2006. CNN reports on how the decrease in infection rates has surpassed researchers’ expectations and hopes:
“The prevalence of the types of HPV that commonly cause cervical cancer in women has dropped by about half in girls ages 14 to 19,” said Dr. Thomas Frieden, CDC director. “That decline is even better than we had hoped for.”
Specifically, rates of HPV types 6, 11, 16 and 18 – the four types covered by the vaccines – have decreased by 56% in young girls.
Those numbers are surprising, said Frieden, because only about a third of girls have gotten all three recommended doses of the vaccine. He suggested that the extra immunity may come from girls who only got one or two doses, or so-called “herd immunity.” That occurs when those who have been vaccinated cause there to be less virus floating around, therefore lowering the risk for those who haven’t been vaccinated.
But despite the good news, Frieden says the CDC had hoped that 80% of girls would be vaccinated by this point, and more needs to be done.
“This should be a wake-up call that we need to increase vaccination rates, because we can protect the next generation of girls from cancer caused by HPV,” said Frieden. “Fifty thousand women alive today will develop cervical cancer that could have been prevented if we had reached our goal of an 80% vaccination rate.”
In March, an article in the journal Pediatrics called on more parents to vaccinate their children, expressing concern that the overwhelming majority of girls had not received the full course of the HPV vaccine. Another study, published late last year, found that receiving the HPV vaccine does not affect teens’ sexual behaviors, a concern for many parents.
Image: Teen getting a shot, via Shutterstock
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Monday, April 1st, 2013
A nationwide “silent and peaceful” protest aimed at the lingerie store Victoria’s Secret is being organized for April 6 by a parenting organization called The Mommy Lobby, in an attempt to convince the company to stop an ad campaign that features teen girls in sexually suggestive settings. The “Bright Young Things” ads advertise the company’s PINK line, which the company says is aimed at young women between ages 18 and 22. More from Fox News:
The marketing campaign, for Victoria’s Secret’s PINK line, first caught the attention of The Mommy Lobby’s CEO Cindy Chafin about a month ago. Since then, her group has been speaking out against the “bright young things” ads, which show younger girls in skimpy underwear with slogans like “Call Me” and “Feeling Lucky?”
The lacy thongs and bikini underwear, one style is called “The Date Panty,” are seemingly aimed at a younger buyer, Chafin said, and the members of The Mommy Lobby felt action needed to be taken.
“Victoria’s Secret, they are a corporation. They are free to run their product. We totally get that, but I think there comes a point where there are boundaries,” she told FOX 411. “Our daughters are not sex objects. We really want them to be innocent and young as long as possible…and [Victoria’s Secret is] not helping that.”
Amid the controversy, Victoria’s Secret posted on their Facebook page that the PINK line is aimed at 18 to 22 year olds.
“In response to questions we recently received, Victoria’s Secret PINK is a brand for college-aged women,” the message read.
But at a recent conference Business Insider reported the company’s CFO Stuart Burgdoerfer said, “When somebody’s 15 or 16-years-old, what do they want to be? They want to be older, and they want to be cool like the girl in college, and that’s part of the magic of what we do at PINK.”
Victoria’s Secret also recently teamed up with tween idol Justin Bieber for several of their projects. His voice provides the music for a recent video for the 2013 Swim line, and he performed—along with Rihanna—at this year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.
Image via The Mommy Lobby
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Thursday, October 18th, 2012
The vaccine against human papillomavirus, which is the sexually transmitted virus that raises the risk of cervical and other cancers, has been a source of controversy among some parents who worry that vaccinating young girls and boys will inadvertently teach them that sex is permissible and safe. But a new study published this week in the journal Pediatrics has found that having the vaccine does not alter sexual behavior at all. The New York Times reports:
Looking at a sample of nearly 1,400 girls, the researchers found no evidence that those who were vaccinated beginning around age 11 went on to engage in more sexual activity than girls who were not vaccinated.
“We’re hopeful that once physicians see this, it will give them evidence that they can give to parents,” said Robert A. Bednarczyk, the lead author of the report and a clinical investigator with the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research Southeast, in Atlanta. “Hopefully when parents see this, it’ll be reassuring to them and we can start to overcome this barrier.”
HPV, the most common sexually transmitted virus in the United States, can cause cancers of the cervix, anus and parts of the throat. Federal health officials began recommending in 2006 that girls be vaccinated as early as age 11 and last year made a similar recommendation for preadolescent boys. The idea is to immunize boys and girls before they become sexually active to maximize the vaccine’s protective effects.
Image: Tween girl and boy, via Shutterstock
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Tuesday, September 27th, 2011
The new season of the ABC program “Dancing with the Stars” features Chaz Bono, the child of Sonny Bono and Cher who recently underwent surgery to change sexes. CNN.com has published a report on the children–1 in 30,000 or 1 in 1,000, depending on which study you read–who are, from very young ages, transgender. These kids can face painful childhood experiences that stem from their feelings that they were born with the wrong sexual anatomy. From CNN:
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Transgender children experience a disconnect between their sex, which is anatomy, and their gender, which includes behaviors, roles and activities. In Thomas’ case, he has a male body, but he prefers female things likes skirts and dolls, rather than pants and trucks.
Gender identity often gets confused with sexual orientation. The difference is “gender identity is who you are and sexual orientation is who you want to have sex with,” said Dr. Johanna Olson, professor of clinical pediatrics at University of Southern California, who treats transgender children….
…When a child starts identifying with the opposite gender, there is no way to determine whether it’s temporary or likely to become permanent.
“It’s important to acknowledge the signs of gender dysphoria, especially for children,” said Eli Coleman, who chaired a committee to update treatment guidelines for the World Professional Association for Transgender Health, an international medical group meeting this week in Atlanta, Georgia. “By not addressing it, it could be really more damaging for the child than not.”
“It’s a very difficult area and there are a lot of children who have gender nonconformity. They will simply grow out of that. Many of them later on identify as gay or lesbian, rather than transgender.”
The American Psychological Association warns that “It is not helpful to force the child to act in a more gender-conforming way.” When they’re forced to conform, some children spiral into depression, behavioral problems and even suicidal thoughts.