New study shows surprising sexual violence numbers - Tucson News Now

New study shows surprising sexual violence numbers

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

A brand new study shows one in ten people ages 14 to 21 admitted being the perpetrators of some sort of sexual coersion or forced sexual violence.

Some people at The University of Arizona were actually surprised the number was so low.

"I think it's lower than I expected," said UA student Deja Bynum. "Especially like for our age group. It seems like it goes on a lot more."

The study looked at what researchers called sexual violence: everything from rape and attempted rape to coercion, which researchers say is getting the other person to have sex when the person did not want to.

Kissing or touching someone who did not want to be kissed or touched was also included. 

The University of Arizona has anti-sexual assault programs, including the OASIS program against sexual assault and relationship violence.

"The perpetrator is often someone known and often trusted and so then, yeah, the tools of rape or sexual assault involved things like coercion or making use of the trusted relationship," said Dr. Kathleen Young, UA Oasis Psychologist.

"It's important to be able to say no and yes to what you want and don't want sexually, but it's also important for partners to listen to the no and the yes," Young said. "So we do teach a lot about consent."

Dr. Young says the university also teaches how to prevent sexual assault by being an active bystander.

For instance, at a party where the intended victim has been drinking.

Students are taught to step in if it's safe or rally friends to get the intended victim to safety, or to call 911. 

"If I would see someone being like sexually harassed or sexual violence I would definitely step in because I would never do that to anybody... Just the fact that one in ten are perpetuating that, that's-- that's just wrong," said UA student Ryan Fischella.

The researchers say there is a need for high school and middle school programs on bystander intervention, too. 

Some UA students did get that lesson when they were younger.

"No matter what it was, whether it be a hug or whether it be like holding hands. Anything. If it was inappropriate, it was wrong. You should respect people's boundaries," said UA student Joey Calzolari.

The study also suggests a link between sexual violence and exposure to violent, x-rated material.

The researchers say more studies should be done on all of this.

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