3 million women in America were forced into their first sexual encounter

3 million women in America were forced into their first sexual encounter

Health

According to a study, 1 in 16 American women were either forced or intimidated to have their first sexual encounter. This study was published in the American Medical Association peer-reviewed journal (JAMA Internal Medicine). As part of the survey, more than 13000 women aged 18 to 45 were interviewed between 2011 and 2017 by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

About 56.4 said they encountered verbal pressure, 46.3 percent were held down, 25.1 percent said that they were physically abused, 22 percent were forced to take alcohol or drugs, and 16 percent said that their partners threatened to end the affair. The study claims that forced sexual initiation was reported by women from different socioeconomic backgrounds and ethnicities.  “We live in a culture that glorifies the concept of virginity,” says Dr. Laura Hawks, the head author of the study and a research fellow at the Cambridge Health Institute in Cambridge, Massachusetts. “While sexual violence is traumatic at any point, you can imagine because of these societal pressures that women who experience rape as their first sexual encounter could experience amplified risks later on in life.”

The sexual assault survivors are more prone to developing mental health issues like anxiety and depression. “We live in a culture that glorifies the concept of virginity,” Hawks says. “While sexual violence is traumatic at any point, you can imagine because of these societal pressures that women who experience rape as their first sexual encounter could experience amplified risks later on in life.”

The study had its limitations since the age group was between 18 and 45. The authors believe that the number could be twice if they have considered women above 45. Movements like #MeToo have helped to raise awareness of sexual assault. Had the subjects been interviewed post #MeToo the results would have been more precise.