The pressing need to break the silence on non-consensual sex among young people – an issue shrouded by denial, underreporting and stigma – is self-evident. Despite the growing body of research regarding young people’s sexual behaviours, the study of coercive sexual experiences has generally been overlooked by both researchers and national programmes. Available evidence has been scattered and unrepresentative and despite this evidence, non-consensual sex among young people is perceived to be a rare occurrence. This volume dispels any such misconception. It presents a disturbing picture of non-consensual sex among girls as well as boys, and among married as well as unmarried young women in a variety of settings. This volume documents, moreover, the expanse of non-consensual experiences that young people face – from unwanted touch to forced penetrative sex and gang rape. Although the focus is on young females, the volume also sheds light on the experience of young males as both victims and perpetrators.
This pioneering volume highlights key factors placing young people at risk, whilst outlining the significant distinctive health and social implications they face. Sex Without Consent also documents the unsupportive – and sometimes abusive or negligent – roles of families, teachers, health care providers and law enforcement agents, outlines promising efforts intended to prevent non-consensual sex or support survivors, and argues for profound changes in norms and values that tolerate or encourage non-consensual sex. The editors, based at the Population Council (New Delhi), the World Health Organization (Geneva), and Family Health International (Virginia) argue compellingly for a radical review and reform of existing programmes designed to prevent this kind of abuse and to support young survivors of sexual trauma in the developing world. Addressing the magnitude, determinants and consequences of sex without consent, this volume provides evidence-based directions for programming.