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Boys Sexually Assaulted Suffer in Silence
It may seem like a “no brainer” but according to a recent study, young men who were sexually abused are more likely to have unsafe sex later. There has been similar research published for young girls as well.
University of British Columbia researchers analyzed data from more than 40,000 American and Canadian high school male students who were surveyed between 1986 and 2011. What they found was disturbing. Comparing those with no history of sexual abuse, young males who were sexually abused were five times more likely to cause teen pregnancy, three times more likely to have multiple sexual partners and two times more likely to have unprotected sex, therefore increasing risks for HIV and other STDs. The study is published in the June print issue of the Journal of Adolescent Health.
“As far as we know, this is the first study to explore the strength of the effects of sexual abuse on boys’ sexual behavior,” lead author Yuko Homma, a recent Ph.D. graduate from the University of British Columbia’s School of Nursing, said in a university news release. “Our findings show that boys are also vulnerable to the traumatic effects of sexual abuse, which can lead to sexually transmitted infections or teen pregnancy.”
About 8% of males and 20% of females in North America report that they’ve been sexually abused. “Boys are far less likely to tell someone when they have been sexually abused,” says study co-author Elizabeth Saewyc, “Yet it’s clear they too need support and care to cope with the trauma from sexual violence.”
Researchers suggest schools should include sexual abuse prevention in health education, and health care agencies should screen boys and girls for a history of sexual abuse.