Although evidence from developing countries is limited, what is available suggests that significant numbers of young women have experienced coercive sex. Studies in diverse settings in Africa, Asia, and Latin America reveal that forced sexual initiation and experiences are not uncommon in all of these settings. Many young victims of abuse fear disclosure as they feel they may be blamed for provoking the incident or stigmatized for having experienced it, and suffer such incidents in silence. Presentations at a meeting held in New Delhi in September 2003 highlighted findings from recent studies that suggest an association between early experiences of sexual violence and a range of adverse physical and mental health and social outcomes. Given that data on the consequences of nonconsensual sex are limited and restricted to a few geographical settings, the scale of the problem and its implications for policies and programs are yet to be established. As noted in this document, presentations at the New Delhi meeting highlighted the need for urgent programmatic action to address young people’s vulnerability to coercive sex and its possible far-reaching consequences.
Ganju, Deepika, William Finger, Shireen J. Jejeebhoy, Vijaya Nidadavolu, K.G. Santhya, Iqbal Shah, Shyam Thapa, and Ina Warriner. 2004. "The adverse health and social outcomes of sexual coercion: Experiences of young women in developing countries," research brief. New Delhi: Population Council.