National
One in 10 girls sexually abused worldwide: UN report
Publish Date: Sep 05, 2014
One in 10 girls sexually abused worldwide: UN report
  • mail
  • img
newvision

WASHINGTON - Around 120 million girls around the world, close to one in 10, have been raped or sexually assaulted by the time they turn 20, a new UN report has found.


Drawing on data from 190 countries, the global report by child welfare agency UNICEF is billed as the largest-ever study of violence against children.


Entitled "Hidden in Plain Sight" it also revealed that one fifth of all murder victims are children and teens, with homicide the leading cause of death among male youths in Latin American countries including Venezuela, Colombia, Panama and Brazil.


"These are uncomfortable facts -- no government or parent will want to see them," said UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake.


"But unless we confront the reality each infuriating statistic represents -- the life of a child whose right to a safe, protected childhood has been violated -- we will never change the mind-set that violence against children is normal and permissible. It is neither."


Sexual violence against children has far-reaching consequences, the study warned, potentially hindering all aspects of their physical, social and psychological development.


The consequences of abuse included self-harming behaviors such as bulimia and anorexia.


"Children who have been abused are also more likely to attempt suicide; the more severe the violence, the greater the risk," the study said.


The mental health consequences include depression, panic disorder, anxiety and nightmares.


"The psychological impact of sexual violence can be severe due to the shame, secrecy and stigma that tend to accompany it, with child victims often having to find ways to cope in isolation."


Online predators


UNICEF also warned the Internet skills of today's children can have the pernicious effect of opening them up to online sexual abuse.


Youths feel safer sharing personal and sensitive information online than in other spheres. But in doing so they may expose themselves to a global audience including potential sexual predators, the report said.


The practice of grooming -- online solicitation of children for sexual purposes, sometimes over a period of time to build trust -- is a peril facing Internet-savvy kids.


Some research suggests perpetrators may keep online connections with as many as 200 youths at a time, all at different stages of grooming, the study said.


While sexual violence was more common in poor countries, it was by no means limited to them, with worryingly high rates of abuse reported in some high-income states.


In Britain for instance the report highlighted a 2009 study that found around 17 percent of youths aged 11 to 17 to have experienced contact or non-contact sexual abuse by an adult or peer at some point in their life.


And a study conducted in 2011 in the United States found that 35 percent of adolescent girls and 20 percent of adolescent boys aged 14 to 17 reported suffering some form of sexual violence during their lives, UNICEF said.

Tackling mindsets


Other abuses include bullying, which regularly affected more than one in three schoolchildren aged 13 to 15 worldwide.


And as for violent discipline, the study found that about 17 percent of youngsters in 58 countries were subject to severe forms of physical punishment, including being hit on the head, ears or face or being hit hard and repeatedly.


The UN report also tackles the mindsets it says perpetuate and justify such violence.


It recommended six strategies for preventing violence against children. They include "supporting parents and equipping children with life skills; changing attitudes; strengthening judicial, criminal and social systems and services; and generating evidence and awareness about violence and its human and socio-economic costs, in order to change attitudes and norms."

AFP

Related Stories

Pope to meet sex abuse victims for first time

Parents who sexually abuse their own children

Raped and molested, she now comforts others

 

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Domestic violence
Domestic violence is ranking highly among the leading causes of malnutrition in children in Kisoro and other districts of western Uganda, hence becoming a prevalent social problem....
Mbabazi meetings: lawyers meet Police
The Police legal department were on Tuesday afternoon locked up in a meeting with former Prime Minister, Amama Mbabazi’s legal team at the Police headquarters at Naguru....
Schools told to start EAC clubs
Schools in Uganda have been advised to start forming East African Community (EAC) clubs for strengthened integration of youths into EAC affairs....
Uganda tightens border checks over illicit brew
Ugandan authorities have tightened checks on the importation of alcohol from Kenya as authorities in Nairobi intensify the crackdown on illicit brew that has killed over 80 people since last year....
Rising child prostitution worries Bugiri activists
Human rights activists in Bugiri district are concerned about the continued rise in trafficking of underage girls into commercial sex....
Dr Mungherera retires from civil service
Dr Margaret Mungherera, a long-serving medical practitioner has retired from civil service after 31 years. Mungherera, who has been a senior consultant psychiatrist at Mulago, revealed at a meeting in Kampala on Monday that her tenure had come to an end on June 30....
Do you think Ugandan graduates are the worst in the region?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter