One in four girls in the United States will experience some form of sexual violence before the age of 18 and many of these girls become school dropouts and runaways who end up in prison, according to a new report.
As many as 80 percent of the girls in some US states’ juvenile justice systems have a history of sexual or physical abuse, according to a report released Thursday by the Human Rights Projects for Girls and Georgetown Law Center on Poverty and Inequality.
The study found that in Oregon, 93 percent of jailed girls had a history of sexual or physical abuse, including 76 percent who were sexually abused before the age of 13. In California, 81 percent of imprisoned girls had been abused, including 40 percent who were raped or sodomized and 45 percent who were burned or beaten.
“Girls are the fastest growing numbers in the juvenile justice system, and it’s not because they are becoming more violent or gang members. It is because they are sexually abused,” said Malika Saada Saar, executive director of The Human Rights Project for Girls and an author of the report.