Sexual Attacks Against Teen Girls Are Rising

The CDC revealed that a striking number of teenage girls were victims of sexual attacks. In 2021, around 20% of teen girls said they were victims of sexual assault, and more than one in 10 were raped.

Women have always been vulnerable to sexual assault compared to men. The CDC reveals that sexual assault against teenage girls has heightened by 200,000 in merely two years. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey Data Summary & Trends Report: 2011-2021 is distributed to 17,000 United States high school students every other year. In 2019, around 850,000 high school girls said they were victims of rape.

In 2021, the number rose to one million. For boys, the number has remained the same since 2011— standing at 4%.

The percentage of female students expressing mental health complications was 60%.

The CDC’s report said: "As we saw in the 10 years prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, mental health among students overall continues to worsen, with more than 40% of high school students feeling so sad or hopeless that they could not engage in their regular activities for at least two weeks during the previous year—a possible indication of the experience of depressive symptoms. We also saw significant increases in the percentage of youth who seriously considered suicide, made a suicide plan, and attempted suicide."

Debra Houry, M.D., the agency’s chief medical officer, said it is heartbreaking to see the results, but she is not necessarily shocked.

"Sexual violence has been a pervasive problem among girls for quite some time. We aren’t making the progress we need to," she said.

Surprisingly, many think sexual assaults happen at school or outside the home. However, most teens have spent the past couple of years at home due to the pandemic. Being at home does not always ensure safety; thus, protecting teens and young adults from potential danger is essential.

An increase in sexual assault for teens may be due to a couple of reasons:

  • Lack of sexual education in school
  • With limited social interaction, many students spend time online and didn’t have access to support from teachers or friends.
  • With the stress from the pandemic, the use of alcohol and drinking increased, potentially bringing mental health complications.

Decreasing the number of sexual assaults

According to the CDC, more than one in 10 female students and one in 28 male students were forced into sexual intercourse, and approximately one in seven high school students take advantage of prescribed opioids. Students spend the majority of their day at school and are constantly exposed to adults and teachers who can provide immense help and support.

School settings must have sufficient techniques to educate students not only in math and science but also in other areas. Schools must provide adequate lessons and programs to teach students about healthy sexual interactions and respecting boundaries. Schools can provide sexual health education and implement sexual health services, such as providing preventative health care and creating a safe environment in general. The CDC recommends that schools implement sexual health education from kindergarten to 12th grade.

This type of environment can create positive relationships between students and adults in a school setting, and ensure they are knowledgeable enough to keep themselves safe.

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