“It is easier to talk about it if it’s not someone at school, if it is someone from outside. Then you can get support. But when it happens on your doorstep it becomes a question of who to believe,” said Carl Göran Svedin, professor of child-and–youth-psychiatry at the university, to Sveriges Television (SVT).
In the study, researchers asked 3,500 students in their final year of high school (gymnasium) in 2009 a series of questions regarding sexual relations at the behest of the Swedish National Board for Youth Affairs (Undomsstyrelsen), a government agency that works to ensure that young people have access to influence and welfare.
One in ten of the teenage girls stated that they had been forced to take part in penetrative sex; orally, vaginally or anally – against their will.
To prosecutor Ulrika Rogland the figures were nothing new. She told SVT that the abuse rarely gets reported, especially if they have occurred at a party with alcohol involved.
“Those that you approach might say ‘what, of course you wanted to. You went with him after all’,” she told the broadcaster.
This often results in the victim feeling guilty and responsible and choosing not to report.
According to Svedin, there is a great risk of severe consequences for young people being subjected to sexual abuse.
“Some isolate themselves, move away from people, stop being social, while others do the opposite and almost feel a need to repeat what has happened and expose themselves to dangerous sex again. It almost becomes a compulsion,” he told SVT.