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
District leaders urged to embrace tourism as new revenue source
Uganda Tourism Board (UTB) has urged district leaders to seize and develop the many tourism attractions in their localities as a new revenue platform....
El Nino to affect Uganda and 10 other African countries.
Weather experts have predicted that the El Nino rains will begin in September and will affect 11 African countries including Uganda....
EAC Secretary General tips students on elections
EAC countries have been asked to promote science and technology in higher institutions of learning so as to produce professionals in ICT to provide skilled labour in some of the development projects in the region....
EALA swears in new counsel as Ex-officio member
EALA sitting in Kampala has sworn in Hon Dr Anthony Luyirika Kafumbe, the new Counsel to the East African Community (CTC) as an Ex-Officio Member of EALA....
Judge throws out lawyer over dress code
Justice Catherine Bamugemereire has thrown out of the hearing of the commission of inquiry into UNRA a lawyer who turned in a pair trousers and a white blouse....
Catholic Church mourns its former Secretary General
The former secretary general of the Uganda Episcopal Conference and long serving rector of Kisubi Minor Seminary, Rev. Fr. Francis Xavier Mugambe has been laid to rest at the priests’ cemetery at Rubaga Cathedral....
Do you support KCCA'S move to ban campaign posters from the city?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter