Results from an in-depth study paint a depressing picture of widespread sexual abuse across the UK. One-third of teen-girl participants reported suffering unwanted sexual acts while in relationships, and a quarter of them said they had been physically assaulted by their boyfriends.
Nine out of 10 of the 13- to 17-year-old girls surveyed said they had been in an intimate relationship. The research revealed that a girl in a relationship had a higher risk of abuse from a partner if she had previously been physically abused by an adult family member or if she had an older boyfriend. In fact, three-fourths of the young girls with a significantly older boyfriend said they were victims of abuse.
The girls reported that they put up with the abuse, which ranged from slapping, punching, and biting to forced kissing, sexual touching, or rape, because they felt scared, guilty, or fearful that they would lose their boyfriend.
Let's hope this knowledge will help parents, teachers, and others who work with young people find ways to protect them from abuse and stop the cycle of domestic violence.