DURHAM, N.H. (CBS Connecticut) – A recent study suggests that 9 percent of adolescents have, at some point, committed some form of sexual violence against another.

The results of the study – a joint effort between Dr. Kimberly Mitchell of the University of New Hampshire and Dr. Michele Ybarra of the Center for Innovative Public Health Research in San Clemente, Calif. – exposed the trend after researchers surveyed a pool of participants between the ages of 14 and 21.

Of those who confessed to sexual violence, 8 percent said they forced sexual contact, 3 percent coerced sex out of a victim, 3 percent attempted rape and 2 percent completed rape, according to MedPage Today.

Researchers additionally learned that, 73 percent of the time, the victims were the romantic partner of the perpetrator. Additionally, 50 percent of those who committed the acts of sexual violence blamed the victim for what had occurred.

Other experts in the field, including Emily Rothman, who is an associate professor in the department of community health services at Boston University School of Public Health, were not surprised by the numbers.

“Although I was saddened by the results of this study, I was not surprised,” she was quoted as saying to told MedPage Today. “We have known for decades that the prevalence of sexual violence victimization among youth is unacceptably high, and that youth are responsible for 30 percent to 50 percent of the perpetration of childhood sexual abuse.”

Those involved with the study reportedly found that perpetrators were more likely to have been exposed to violent or sexually explicit materials in media than those who did not behave in such a fashion.

Rothman added, “We need to ensure that youth have access to comprehensive sex education that teaches them media literacy skills so that when they are exposed to pornography or other sexually explicit media they understand how to interpret it and how it may be impacting them or their peers.”

The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics earlier this month, MedPage Today learned.


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