Link: Pacific Islands Report
Pacific Islands Development Program, East-West Center

With Support From Center for Pacific Islands Studies, University of Hawai‘i


High Sexual Violence Reported Among CNMI Youth
Community leaders discuss statistics for high schoolers

By Louella Losinio

HAGTA, Guam (Marianas Variety Guam, Feb. 5, 2013) – Data culled from the 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Survey revealed a 15 percent rate of intimate partner violence and at least 11 percent rate of forced sexual intercourse among public high school students surveyed by the Guam Department of Education.

Dr. Annette David, who chairs the Guam State Epidemiological Outcomes Group, cited the figures during a roundtable meeting on sexual violence held at the Legislature yesterday.

"This is a regular survey that is done among public school students by GDOE. What it does is it asks a series of questions on different risky behaviors including violence," David said.

She added: "From the existing database, we found two questions: one on physical abuse within intimate relationships, or what they call intimate partner violence; and the other, which was about having sexual intercourse when you didn’t want to, is directly related to sexual violence."

The ratings culled from the database were quite high, David said, adding the survey also revealed that sexual orientation was significantly correlated to both intimate partner violence and sexual violence.

The Centers for Disease Control defines sexual violence as any sexual act that is perpetrated against someone's will. Sexual violence encompasses a range of offenses, including a completed nonconsensual sex act, an attempted nonconsensual sex act, abusive sexual contact, and non-contact sexual abuse.

Sen. Aline Yamashita, who convened yesterday’s roundtable meeting, said it is important for nonprofit organizations and service providers to come together and discuss this critical issue affecting the community. It will help the Legislature, she said, to determine needed policy amendments to stop sexual violence.

"We know that if we leverage resources, talk to each other more, and look at planning and organization, maybe we can find those resources. Maybe some of you who have shared something new can teach us. We look forward to that," Yamashita said.

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