A broad and comprehensive study of child sexual abuse in Iceland has brought to light that approximately one in four Icelanders have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18.
Vísir reports that Bryndís Björk Ásgeirsdóttir, a doctor of psychology at the University of Reykjavík, said that every secondary school student in Iceland was interviewed for the study, and that every child who showed up for school the day the study was conducted in the fall of 2004 took part. This makes it one of the most, if not the most, comprehensive study of sexual abuse in Iceland.
Among the findings brought to light is that 35.7% of Icelandic girls have experienced sexual violence before the age of 18; similar to results found in the United States. “That doesn’t tell us that [sexual violence] is more common here than in other parts of the world,” said Bryndís, “but it does tell us that in broad terms, sexual violence is very common, especially among young girls.”
At the same time, 17.8% of boys said they experienced sexual abuse as well, making the average for both sexes 27.3%.
The study takes a broad definition of sexual violence to mean everything from inappropriate touching to rape by force, but the study organisers emphasise that there is no such thing as “mild” sexual abuse in the mind of the victim.