Reactions of boys and girls to sexual abuse and to sexual encounters with peers

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[Abstract:] To understand the etiology and consequences of child sexual abuse it is important to study the victims' subjective reactions to such incidents. Because researchers have not been able to survey children about sexual abuse, not much is known about how subjective reactions are related to gender, age, age difference, and the social relationship between the offender and victim. The present study fills this gap using data gathered from a large, nationally representative sample of Finnish children ages 11 to 17 (N = 32,145). Analyses of abuse are based on a sample of 1520 children (78% girls), while analyses of peer sexual experiences are based on a sample of 3551 children (55% girls). Multivariate analyses adjusted for the use of coercion, the intimacy of the sexual experience, and other incident characteristics. It was hypothesized that, as a result of sex differences in sexuality and attitudes toward deviant behavior, girls are more sensitive than boys to age and age difference. Three findings supported the hypothesis:
(1) girls were more likely than boys to have a negative reaction to sexual encounters regardless of the age difference;
(2) for girls, age was negatively associated with the likelihood of a negative reaction, but age had no effect for boys; and
(3) girls reacted negatively to age difference while boys did not. However, girls did not react more negatively unless the offender was at least eight years older.

The results highlight the susceptibility of adolescent boys to encounters with older women. They further suggest that ignoring the role of the victim limits understanding of the vulnerability of young people to sexual abuse.

source: Research 'Reactions of Boys and Girls to Sexual Abuse and to Sexual Encounters with Peers' by Richard B. Felson, Jukka Savolainen, Sarah Fry, Corey Whichard & Noora Ellonen;; Journal of Youth and Adolescence, Volume 48, Issue 10, pp 1869-1882; October 2019; First online: 2 September 2019

[Comments by 'Filip30':]
The article is deeply pedophobic but nevertheless very important because the representative and big study has several very important results described below. And by the way lots of interesting studies are mentioned in the article. In this study all sexual contacts of "minors" with someone at least five years older were seen as "sexual abuse". The study uses different statistical methods that sometimes produce different results.

Main result:
The reactions of the boys to sexual contacts are independent of their age and independent of the age of the other person. Boys react to sexual contacts with peers in the same way as to sexual contacts with much older people. Rarely (12%) boys react negatively to sexual contacts with much older persons. The traumatizing lie is finally done after this publication.

Results/comments for sexual contacts of girls and boys with older persons:
1) The first sentence of the article goes like that: "In most cases of child sexual abuse, offenders use manipulation rather than overt force to gain compliance (e.g., Leclerc et al. 2006; Rebocho and GonÇalves 2012)." This is houding and no science, especially for sexual contacts of boys with older persons. One result of this study about the sexual contacts seen as "abusive" is: "boys were much more likely to initiate the encounters than girls (37.44 vs. 6.81%)". So nearly 40 % of the so called "sexual abuse" of the boys was initiated by the boys. Maybe someone should demand a rectification of the first sentence.
2) "Most incidents involved offenders who were relatively close in age to the victim. For example, 76% of girls and 83% of boys were abused by someone between 5 and 11 years older."
3) "Offenders rarely used overt force (11.5%)". This means the big majority of "minor"-adult-sex is consensual.
4) "Boys were much more likely to experience same-sex encounters than girls (11 vs. 1%)."
5) "Table 1 also shows that abuse is primarily a crime against adolescents. Relatively few of the incidents occurred when the respondent was under age 12 (10% of girls, 12% of boys)." So what they label "child sexual abuse" in science and mass media rarely has something to do with real children (prepubertals).

Sexual contacts of boys with much older persons:
6) Only 12 % of the boys reacted negatively. Sadly the article does not describe the positive reactions.
7) "younger boys were no more likely to have a negative reaction to abuse than older boys". There are some conflicting results, but boys rarely reacted negatively.
8) For the reactions of the boys the age of the other person did not matter.
9) "the gender of the offender is by far the strongest predictor of a negative reaction. The odds of a negative reaction to abuse was more than fifty times greater when the offender was male rather than female." - "The hypothesis that boys are more likely to respond negatively to homosexual experiences than heterosexual experiences was supported. Boys were much more likely to have a negative reaction when the other person was a male. These results support the idea that boys react negatively due to the stigma of homosexuality and threats to their heterosexual identity. Recall evidence that homosexuality carries a greater stigma than lesbianism, that males tend to hold more negative attitudes toward same-sex relationships than females, and that social constructions of masculinity are more rigid than those of femininity (e.g., Hort et al. 1990; Herek 2000)."
10) "Boys who experienced sexual encounters that were more intimate and more frequent were less likely to have a negative reaction, although only the coefficient associated with the highest frequency (over 10 times) was statistically significant."

Sexual contacts of girls with much older persons:
11) "The results show that girls were much more likely to report negative reactions than boys. Girls were almost four times more likely than boys to use a negative adjective to describe the encounter (46 vs. 12%)"
12) "the younger the girl's age at the time of the incident, the more likely she was to use negative adjectives to describe her experience"
13) "Girls were more likely to have a negative reaction if the age difference was 12 years or more (...). Note, however, that girls were no more likely to report a negative reaction when offenders were 8-11 years older than when the offenders were 5-7 years older."
14) "Surprisingly, girls were less likely to have negative reactions when the encounters involved more intimate sexual activity or occurred with greater frequency."

"Comparing Abuse to Peer Experiences"
"Girls were 3.1 times more likely than boys to have a negative appraisal of abuse (34 vs. 11%) and 4.3 times more likely to have a negative appraisal of peer experiences (13 vs. 3%). These gender differences were also observed in multivariate analyses that included controls for age, relationship, gender of partner, overt force, and intimacy (results not shown). The results suggest that the more negative reaction of girls to abuse reported in the literature is not specific to this criminal offense but reflects their response to sexual experiences more generally."

Very important result:
"Finally, data on sexual abuse and peer experiences from the ninth grade subsample were combined in order to investigate the effects of the full range of age differences on negative appraisals. This analysis was limited to girls due to an insufficient number of abuse cases involving ninth grade boys. It involved estimating predicted marginal probabilities of a negative appraisal across eight categories of age difference. The results, presented in Fig. 1, show that the reaction of girls to abusive experiences by offenders 5-7 years older were not significantly different from their reaction to peer experiences - the confidence intervals overlap. An increase in negative reactions did not occur until the age differences reached 8-11 years. Negative reactions became increasingly likely when the age difference reached 11 years or more."

"The non-linear relationship between age difference and girls' reactions to sexual experiences, however, was unexpected. Girls did not react more negatively unless the age difference was at least 8 years. They reacted similarly whether the other party was from 5-7 years older or their own age. Adolescent girls who had sexual encounters with males 5-7 years older - the modal type of sexual abuse - were no more likely to react negatively that girls who had sexual encounters with peers. Perhaps some girls view relationships with somewhat older males as status enhancing. At any rate, their reactions do not reflect conventional adult attitudes or the criminal law. Their willingness to engage in these activities increases their risk of victimization."

source: 'study "Reactions of Boys and Girls to Sexual Abuse' by 'Filip30';; Boychat; 8 September 2019