As the Winter 2009 issue highlights, youth between 12 and 18 suffer the highest rate of sexual victimization. Unfortunately, these victims are often viewed less sympathetically than younger victims. In a society which too often looks for excuses to blame the victim, once a child hit puberty the common excuses given by those who commit sexual violence start to gain traction.
For example, too many people still hold onto the idea that if the victim was alone with the perpetrator willingly then what was done to that victim is unlikely to have been a serious offense and if the victim continued to spend time with the perpetrator then what was done could not possibly be anything but fully consensual -- no matter what the law says.
Sexual violence by someone slightly older is too often immediately dismissed as a Romeo and Juliet relationship, especially if the older teen or young adult is convicted of a statutory crime. Little consideration is given to whether what was done also qualified as forcible rape, rape by coercion or rape by intoxication or was done as part of relationship abuse.
Here's the table of contents for this issue:
Teen Sexual Assault Survivors: Legal Impacts and ConsiderationsTake the time to read the entire issue.
Effective Advocacy for Youth -- Know their rights
Balancing Obligations: Serving Teen Victims & Mandated Reporting of Child Rape
Why Teens Don't Tell
Challenges Facing Teens Seeking Protective Orders
Health Care Concerns
Providing Health Care to Minors Under Washington Law
Teens, School & Sexual Violence
Legal Considerations for Teenage Victims of Sexual Assault
Who Pays the Price? An Assessment of Youth Involvement in Prostitution in Seattle
We can learn where the gaps are and we can fill those gaps so that all children including all teens are at a lower risk of sexual violence and so that those who are victimized can get the support they should be able to depend upon.