Is The Prevalence of Sexual Abuse Now 1 in 10?

According to a blog post by Darkness to Light that’s the more current estimate for the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse. They put together a study using newer research and reporting numbers than the previous studies that put the number at one in four girls and one in 6 boys who are sexually abused by the time they reach 18.

In the details of that study, a brief synopsis of which you can find on this page, as well as a link to the full white paper, they indicate that the actual prevalence now is 1 in 7 girls and 1 in 25 boys.

Personally, I think that number for boys is far too low. I’d be more than happy to be proven wrong, that rates of sexual abuse have fallen that much of the last 20 years, but I am hard pressed to believe that the number for boys has gone from 1 in 6 to 1 in 25. After looking over the studies used in gathering this information, I believe this number is grossly under reported by virtue of the studies being conducted on adolescents. Adolescent boys are extremely unlikely to report sexual abuse, even anonymously. I think males are always less likely to report being sexually abused, but that is especially true for adolescent males. I’d feel a sense of some  success if there really were 90% of children, and 96% of males,  living a childhood safe from sexual abuse. Not of happiness, because that is still far, far too many, but I suspect that percentage is not as high as these studies would indicate. Truth is, we won’t know for sure until it is safe and acceptable for everyone to talk about being abused, but I do hope the number of kids being sexually abused is going down.

Still, any way you look at it, one in ten is still far too high of a number.


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One Comment

  1. Being that only 1-10 will ever reveal that they were abused I don’t understand how anyone comes up with statistics to prove the number is dropping.

    It is no different then an offender is convicted for his first or second or sixth offense..offenses only mean those are the ones they were caught and charged with. I suspect for every time an offender is charged with assault on one person he has at the minimum five others victims we don’t know about.

    I worked in a program for offenders for 16 years. On of my students was 16. He reported he already had 36 victims. 1-10…I find this very difficult to believe. My knew book will give victims of Sexual Assault a voice!

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