Three hundred forty-two anonymous surveys regarding unwanted sexual experiences (USE) were filled out in three clinic sites: a pediatric sexual abuse clinic, family practice clinic, and family planning clinic. In the latter two clinics, 40% of females and 16% of males had at least one unwanted sexual experience prior to turning 18 years old. Only 91% of the sexual abuse clinic patients indicated their experience was unwanted. In addition, 27% of the subjects had wanted sexual experiences that were illegal and underreported: These experiences involved a partner at least 4 years older or younger. While feelings of victimization were most common, self-blame and naivete about the abuse were also frequently reported, especially in those who had an USE with a peer. Ambivalence, self-blame, and peer pressure were associated with a lower tendency to disclose one's USE. Although unwanted and illegal sexual experiences were less common in Hispanic females, feelings of self-blame and ambivalence regarding their USE were more frequent in comparison with White females. These findings have important investigative and therapeutic implications for professionals who encounter victims of sexual abuse.
- Abuse definitions
- Sexual abuse
- Victim reactions
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Psychiatry and Mental health