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Teen girls experience higher rates of sexual violence compared to male peers

February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month. Yet, female high school students in Arizona experience more sexual violence compared to their male peers. That’s according to the latest Youth Risk Behavior Survey

When asked if they had ever experienced sexual violence by anyone, nearly 23% of females responded yes, compared to only 5% of males. When asked if they were ever physically forced to have sex, 16% of females said yes, compared to 2% of males.

Roughly 3,000 students from 40 states participated in this survey, which tracks behaviors that can lead to poor physical and mental health in students in grades 9 and 12. Besides sexual violence, the survey asked questions about alcohol and drug use, bullying and suicidal ideation. 

If you or someone you know is involved in an abusive relationship of any kind, immediate and confidential support is available through the National Domestic Violence Hotline’s project focused on supporting young people by visiting loveisrespect.org, calling 1-866-331-9474 (TTY: 1-800-787-3224), or texting “LOVEIS” to 22522.

KJZZ senior field correspondent Kathy Ritchie has 20 years of experience reporting and writing stories for national and local media outlets — nearly a decade of it has been spent in public media.