One out of every 20 high school girls who took part in a recent survey claimed to have been raped, according to the poll findings released Tuesday.
The poll on sexual violence, which was conducted by the government-backed Asian Women’s Fund, was carried out at nine high schools in Tokyo, one in Fukuoka Prefecture and two in Miyazaki Prefecture between Nov. 6 and Dec. 18. The group collected responses from 2,346 pupils — 1,463 girls and 883 boys.
According to the poll, 5.3 percent of the girls said they had been forced to have sex — mainly with their boyfriends or other people they knew.
Meanwhile, 1.5 percent of the male respondents said they had suffered similar experiences, mainly at the hands of their girlfriends or other acquaintances.
Those who committed the rapes included teachers, as well as the victims’ family members and relatives.
Roughly one-third of the girls who said they had been raped said they were first raped when they were junior high school pupils.
In addition, 13.2 percent of the girls polled said they were victims of attempted rape. The corresponding figure for boys came to 2.7 percent.
Sachiko Nosaka, a lecturer at Osaka Kyoiku University who headed the research project, said education experts should recognize the reality of sexual assault and take preventive measures.
“There is a myth that girls are raped in dark streets by someone they don’t know, but the reality is that they are victims of date rape,” she said. Both female and male victims polled said they were mainly raped either at their own homes or at the homes of the perpetrators.
Nosaka also said the results for the girls were predictable, as some similar studies on adult women showed that 5 percent to 8 percent were victims of rape.
Regarding other sexual violence, the survey found that more than 30 percent of the girls had experienced sexual harassment and assault, including groping, indecent exposure and verbal sexual abuse. More than 10 percent of the boys also cited such experiences.
While the girls also cited being sexually assaulted by strangers on trains to and from school, boys said they were harassed by friends at school, Nosaka said.
Approximately 10 percent of the girls said they were sexually harassed through online activities via personal computers or mobile phones.