High rate of sex abuse with Dutch youth “disturbing”

A massive 40.6 percent of young women between the ages of 12 and 25 years have experienced non-volitional sex. Among young men of the same age group, that percentage is 20.4

This is according to a study done by GGD Zuid-Limburg and the University of Maastricht. For this study 10,401 young people from all over the Netherlands anonymously answered a questionnaire on their sexual behavior. The results were published in the scientific journal Plos One on Tuesday.

The study looked at six different forms of sexual violence, ranging from unwanted kissing and fondling to more invasive sex such as vaginal or anal sex. Depending on the type of sexual violence, the percentage of young people that indicated they have been forced to have sex against their will ranged between 1 and 61 percent.

All the forms of sexual violence were more often reported by young women than by young men. Young people who with same sex partners reported sexual violence more often than young people with opposite sex partners. The perpetrator was often someone the young person knows. And in the more invasive forms of sexual abuse, a quarter of the cases also involved violence.

The study found that there is a higher prevalence of invasive sexual abuse among young men with a non-Western nationality, young women and men with a lower educational level and young people with a higher number of partners. Other risk factors include becoming sexually active at a very young age, the use of alcohol or drugs and engaging in sexual activities over the internet.

GGD Zuid-Limburg calls the results of the study "disturbing". "More attention needs to be paid to this problem in adolescents and young adults." the health organization writes on its website.