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NCJ Number: 204834 Add to Shopping cart Find in a Library
Title: Girls' Sexual Development in the Inner City: From Compelled Childhood Sexual Contact to Sex-for-Things Exchanges
Journal: Journal of Child Sexual Abuse  Volume:12  Issue:2  Dated:2003  Pages:73-96
Author(s): Eloise Dunlap; Andrew Golub; Bruce D. Johnson
Date Published: 2003
Page Count: 24
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute on Drug Abuse
Bethesda, MD 20892-9561
US Dept of Health and Human Services
Rockville, MD 20892-9304
Grant Number: 1R01DA09056-07;1R01DA05126-08;1R03DA06413-01
Type: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This study examined the psychological and behavioral outcomes in the sexual development of inner city girls who were subjected to forced sexual contact by adults in their childhoods.
Abstract: Throughout the 1990's the authors were involved in a series of longitudinal ethnographic studies of drug abuse/sales, violence, and family functioning in a sample of severely distressed, predominately African-American households in inner-city New York. Households were selected to represent a range of experiences typical of this population. Households were studied over 3 to 8 years, during which subjects were observed and interviewed at least quarterly. For the purposes of the current analysis, data from all respondents were analyzed for common themes regarding compelled sexual contact. Over the course of the study, the researchers were able to contemporaneously chronicle several ongoing cases of compelled childhood sexual contact and sexual development among the younger subjects. Older respondents provided their stories retrospectively, often recalling events from decades ago. The majority (60 of 98) of the participants reported having been compelled to have sexual contact by the age of 13 years. Typically, these contacts occurred regularly over time and fit within a distinct sexual development pathway leading to independent sexuality. Between their first experience of compelled sex and adulthood, participants experienced both compelled and independent sexual activities as they learned the value of their sexual behavior within the inner-city subculture. Independent sexual behavior often involved prostitution, teen pregnancy, early motherhood, school dropping out, limited involvement with jobs, drug abuse, multiple children by different fathers, and single-parent families. These behaviors are conditioned and modeled by the deprivations of structural disadvantage, prevailing subcultural norms, violence, and illicit drug use. Given their reported lack of access to good, legitimate jobs, sex work presented itself as a practical means for many of the women to support themselves, their drug use, and their children. Also, the welfare reforms of the late 1990's, which limited their ability to obtain government support, apparently increased many of the participants' dependence on sex work. Providing improved broad-based social support and opportunities could help some inner-city adults escape their situation. Moreover, it could help their children develop more healthy, productive lifestyles. 43 references
Main Term(s): Juvenile victims
Index Term(s): Adult survivors of child sexual abuse; Child abuse as delinquency factor; Child Sexual Abuse; Drug abuse causes; New York; Prostitution; Prostitution causes; Psychological victimization effects; Sexual behavior; Urban area studies
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