Sexual and gender based violence: everyday, everywhere, and yet …

By | September 2009

The mathematics of contemporary sexual and gender based violence offer a grim graph of today’s world. In a number of countries, evenly distributed across the globe, up to one-third of adolescent girls report forced sexual initiation. For example, a recent study suggests that in the United Kingdom one in three teenage girls has suffered sexual abuse from a boyfriend, one in four has experienced violence in a relationship, one in six has been pressured into sexual intercourse, one in sixteen say they had been raped. Mass rape of women and girls continues to be seen as somehow a legitimate military weapon. Reports suggest that, in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a war that lasted a mere three years, somewhere between 10,000 and 60,000 women and girls were raped. Sexual violence against men and boys continues undaunted, unreported, understudied, and too often a source of ridicule and derision. According to a number of studies, somewhere between 5 and 10% of adult males report having been sexually abused in their childhood. Women suffer violence in health care settings, “including sexual harassment, genital mutilation, forced gynecological procedures, threatened or forced abortions, and inspections of virginity.” Sexual violence in schools is off the charts. In Canada, 23% of girls experience sexual harassment.

Filed under: ACAS Review (Bulletin), Bulletin 83