JAMA Pediatrics published a new study on Monday, Oct. 7th. Due to recent research connecting exposure to X-rated or violent material at a young age to sexual violence, this paper sought to further explore the correlation. Interviews were conducted across the nation to 14-21 year olds. There were 1,058 youth involved where 53% were 18-21 years old and 47% were 14-17 years old. The study had some alarming findings:
- 9% of young people reported to having been a perpetrator of some form of sexual violence
- 17% of perpetrators had viewed X-rated/violent material in the past year
- 3% of participants had attempted rape
- 2% of participants had forced rape
- When perpetrators were asked the relationship of their most recent victim, one in four victims were not in dating relationships.
Because this is one of the first studies of its kind, Michelle Ybarra, the president of the Center for Innovative Public Health Research, says that we should be cautious to interpret these findings. The data is especially alarming because the age range included youth that are under the age of consent.
Above all, Ybarra says that this data shows the need to do more for our youth. We need better families, better social networks, and better communities to combat these surprising findings.
How can we better prepare our youth? What can we do as a community to promote safer sex?