Sexual assault has long been a plague on college campuses — but new research shows that it's affecting younger teenaged girls in large numbers, as well.
According to a survey from the National Women's Law Center, 1 in 3 teen girls has reported experiencing sexual violence. Not only that, sexual violence is affecting their success in school.
The NWLC's report was conducted with Lake Research Partners and surveyed 1,003 girls aged 14-18, and oversampled Black, Latina, Asian/Pacific Islander, Native American, and LGBTQ girls.
The survey found that 1 in 3 girls said they were survivors of sexual or other violence — with sexual violence being defined as being kissed or touched without consent, being physically forced to have sex when they did not want to, or being forced to have sex in exchange for money and gifts. Violence in the survey was defined as being hurt or injured on purpose by someone they were going out with or by a family member.
The report, part of NWLC’s Let Her Learn: Stopping School Pushout series, examines the ways in which different groups of girls experience barriers to their education.
According to the survey, 1 in 5 girls (21%) have survived sexual assault, defined as being kissed or touched without consent, and those who have experienced homelessness reported sexual assault at twice the overall rate (41%).
The numbers are also worse for LGBTQ girls and girls of color — 2 in 5 LGBTQ girls (38%) reported being kissed or touched without their consent, while 24% of Latina girls, 23% of Native American girls, and 22% of Black girls reported the same.
Furthermore, 68% of survivors reported having difficulty concentrating, which can negatively affect their school performance, and 30% of survivors reported being absent because they felt they would be unsafe at school or on their way to school.
In order to stop school push-out for girls who have experienced sexual violence, the NWLC recommends that schools make sure to have adequate support for students as well as working with these students to figure out individualized graduation plans.
If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).