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Gendered Experiences of Sexual Abuse of Teenagers and Children in Mexico

NCJ Number
Child Abuse and Neglect Volume: 38 Issue: 4 Dated: April 2014 Pages: 776-787
Sonia M. Frías; Joaquina Erviti
Date Published
April 2014
12 pages
This study conducted in Mexico examined the prevalence of sexual abuse during childhood and adolescence by gender in a national representative sample of Mexican youth, using data from the 2007 National Survey on Exclusion, Intolerance, and Violence in Public Institutions of High School Level Education.
Of the 13,440 youth who provided data for this study, 6.7 percent reported sexual abuse in childhood and/or adolescence. For the 1.76 percent of the adolescents who had ever had intercourse, their first sexual experience was forced; 6.43 percent were fondled, had their genitals touched, or were involved in sexual acts against their wills. Children and adolescents were victimized within the family, especially females. Boys reported higher percentages of sexual abuse than girls, contrary to similar research conducted in other countries. It is plausible to speculate that sexually abused girls drop out of school because of early pregnancies, so they do not appear in the sample. For the 13.9 percent of the boys ever sexually abused, their current or last partner was another male; however, no statistically significant difference regarding sexual abuse by a romantic partner emerged between those in a homosexual or heterosexual relationship. Only 7 percent of the cases of sexual abuse were reported to law enforcement agencies. Males were less likely than females to disclose their abuse to a person or agency who might intervene (30.97 percent compared to 43.82 percent). Information provided in this study should help both U.S. and Mexican authorities design programs that both prevent and identify child sexual abuse, with attention to the varying dynamics of sexual abuse between boys and girls. 5 tables and 56 references