120 million girls, 10% worldwide sexually abused – UNICEF report
One in ten girls under the age of 20, or about 120 million across the globe, have been sexually abused, according to the latest conservative figures by UNICEF.
The same report found that six in ten kids aged 2-14 are regularly subject to physical punishment.
According to UNICEF’s report based on 190 countries, between 30 and 80 percent of victims don’t disclose experiences of childhood sexual abuse until adulthood, while many others (a number impossible to quantify) remain silent for their entire lives.
For instance, in India, in 2011, 10.6 percent of rape victims were under the age of 14.
One might think that when a girl gets married, the trouble stops, but it’s not true: almost one in three married young women have been victims of emotional, physical and/or sexual violence inflicted by their partners – especially in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.
Another alarming trend is that nearly 50 percent of the girls believe a husband is allowed to hit or beat his wife from time to time.
The report says the high figure is due to the fact that many victims are too afraid to come forward to report abuse, or simply don’t know that being hurt is unacceptable. Boys also tend to be quieter than girls so as not to break the image of masculinity, and in the case of a rape by a male, not to be declared homosexual.
The most frequent type of sexual harassment is cyber-victimization, the study has found. Also, a little over one in three school students have been victims of school bullying.
"It occurs in places where children should be safe, their homes, schools and communities. Increasingly, it happens over the internet, and it's perpetrated by family members and teachers, neighbors and strangers and other children,” Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director, said in an official statement.
In other data, around six out of 10 children aged between two and 14 were victims of regular physical punishment from their carers.
Frightening statistics also revolved around youth homicide, with 95,000 children and teenagers killed in 2012 alone, most of them in Latin America and The Caribbean, the report stated.
"These are uncomfortable facts – no government or parent will want to see them," Anthony Lake, UNICEF executive director, concluded in an official statement, as quoted by The Huffington Post.
"But unless we confront the reality each infuriating statistic represents … we will never change the mindset that violence against children is normal and permissible. It is neither," he added.