One in 10 girls raped or sexually abused worldwide: U.N.

Fri Sep 5, 2014 7:47am EDT
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By Katie Nguyen

LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - One in 10 girls around the world - or about 120 million in total - have been forced to have intercourse or take part in other sexual acts, with rates higher in sub-Saharan Africa than other regions, according to the United Nations.

Drawing on data from 190 countries, a report by the U.N. children's agency UNICEF said the most common perpetrators of sexual violence against girls under 18 are current or former husbands, boyfriends and partners.

The study, which sifted through the biggest ever compilation of data on violence against children, also found that one in five murder victims were children or adolescents under 20.

Homicide was the leading cause of death among males aged 10 to 19 in Panama, Venezuela, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago, Brazil, Guatemala and Colombia.

"Violence against children occurs every day, everywhere: the slaps of an upset parent to control an 'unruly' child, the sexual victimization of a teenager by a peer or a neighbor, the bullying of one child by another in the schoolyard, the emotional degradation of a child bride by her spouse," the report said.

"Too many children worldwide are affected by such violence, yet it is rarely acknowledged, in part because it is so commonplace. The repercussions are not inconsequential, with ripple effects throughout society as well as future generations," it added.