Ideally, none should encounter sexual abuse. Alas, the Tartu University study shows totally otherwise as every tenth young person has been sexually abused including five percent forced into intercourse.
Editorial: «no» means «no» – still all do not understand
A remarkable percentage of the abuse springs from relations between the young: «Mostly, sexual abuse is encountered while a teenager, aged 15 or 16, and the abuser is mostly a male aged 16 or 17 or one recently come of age, an acquaintance or current/former boyfriend.»
Among other things, turns out that the more a young person believes the myths related to rape, the greater the likelihood to act it out.
The myths being such as point to behaviour, clothing etc of the victim, or opting to not believe that «no» actually does mean «no». For instance: «If a girl lets herself be hugged and kissed and the situation gets out of control, she is then to be blamed that her partner forces her into intercourse.»
In these issues, a vast difference is seen between Estonian and Russian speaking youth. While 55 percent of Russian girls and 48 percent of Russian boys agree with statement above, among Estonians it’s only 14 percent of boys and 8 percent of girls. Indeed, in real life it is Russian girls who most of all suffer from the abuse, says the study.
How to improve the situation? As shown by the study, no better protection than loving and caring parents. Meanwhile, the typical style of upbringing is hard to be altered fast. What we can do is provide sexual education and affect formation of attitudes.
How do we reach the young? As is to be expected, answers are primarily sought from the Internet and friends. A third of girls and fifth of boys have asked anything from parents. Thus, an answer to the many-faceted problem might be an increased amount of attractively presented and adequate websites in Russian and in Estonian.