Willy Pedersen: "Sexual Victimization in the Digital Age"
In this article published in Archives of Sexual Behavior, Willy Pedersen observes a reconfigured landscape of sexual victimization patterns among Norway adolescents due to their increasing participation on social media and digital platforms.
Adolescents increasingly use social media platforms, and these practices open up new forms of sexual victimization, in particular image-based sexual abuse (IBSA). Few studies have examined prevalence rates and correlates of both physical sexual victimization (PSV) and these new forms of victimization in representative samples.
We used data from 5,245 adolescent girls (53%) and 4,580 adolescent boys (47%) from the population-based Young in Oslo Study (mean age 17.1 years, SD=0.9). Of all respondents, 2.9% had experienced IBSA, 4.3% PSV, and 1.7% both IBSA and PSV in the course of the previous 12 months. Multivariate analyses revealed that PSV victims, after control for other variables, had many characteristics described in previous studies of sexual victimization. Girls had higher prevalence rates than boys, many had been victims of other types of violence, and were part of peer groups with much use of alcohol and drugs. PSV victims also reported early intercourse onset and a higher proportion had been commercially sexually exploited. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual adolescents had higher victimization rates. Victims of both PSV and IBSA had a similar but even more pronounced profle. The IBSA victims were different: They lacked many of the traditional risk factors for sexual victimization, there were no signifcant gender diferences in this group, and IBSA victims more often came from high socioeconomic backgrounds.
In conclusion, we observe a reconfgured landscape of sexual victimization patterns among Norway adolescents due to their increasing participation on social media and digital platforms.
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