In the News 14.5-20.5
It is a year since revenge porn became a crime. Last week a father was arrested after posting pictures of women online (including one who was pregnant, and doctored photos of a 15-year-old girl), commenting underneath one that he would “pay £100 to rape her”. Despite Women’s Aid’s research revealing that, for a third of women surveyed, threats made online were later carried out in real life, he was let off with a caution. Which leads one to ask, if one is the curious type, if the law is working.
While only around 9% of online hate crimes are investigated nationwide, a Freedom of Information Act request by the BBC showed there had been 1,160 reported incidents of revenge porn in the first year of the new law coming into effect, including three involving children. Of these, 11% resulted in a charge. ....
It’s emblematic of the government’s handling of the mental health crisis that when Natasha Devon, the Conservatives’ much-publicised children’s mental health tsar, found her role unceremoniously axed, the government seemed more concerned with face-saving spin than with the children in need of help.
Hospitalisations from self-harm have doubled in the past three years. Admissions from eating disorders are rocketing, according to the charity YoungMinds. Growing numbers of teenagers are deliberately poisoning themselves. But when Devon tried to talk to ministers about “what’s going on” to create this scale of distress for young people, she says “it was like talking to a brick”. As she puts it: if the government really wants to solve the children’s mental health crisis, it needs to actually acknowledge the causes. ...
Following high profile cases, such as the inquiry into career and crimes of TV presenter Jimmy Savile, police have been overwhelmed with reports of child sex abuse. New figures show that cases are now being reported at a rate of 100 a month; by 2020, police anticipate that they will be investigating a staggering 200,000 cases.
That news, however, is bittersweet. It is at once disturbing and heart-breaking to see how frighteningly common such crimes are, yet also a relief that many victims and survivors who have kept silent for fear of being ignored or ridiculed are now coming forward in the faith that they will finally be taken seriously. ...
Back in 1990, unsafe sex came an unremarkable 14th in the worldwide risk table for deaths among adolescent boys, and 11th in the risk table for girls, according to a three-decade, global Lancet study. It was, in other words, well below inadequate hand-washing as a threat to health. But by 2013, it was reported last week, unsafe sex had risen to be the second riskiest behaviour for boys and the greatest single risk to the health of girls.
The researchers know teenagers across the world are becoming more sexually active, and more of that activity is taking place outside marriage. What’s driving this is a mixed picture. These adolescents could be making their choices against a backdrop of chaotic migration and conflict, or within the airless confines of a forced marriage. They could be subject to the pressures of marketing and social media, or rape as a weapon of war.
You may think the context in Mexico is so different to that in Chad that there is no through-line to be drawn between them. You may think it basically coincidental that all the data travels in the same direction, a cocktail of happenstance and modernity, with a dash of Facebook. You’d be wrong. At the source of every problematic sexual trend among young people, from the abstinence movement in America to child marriage in Nepal, is misogyny. ...Download this post as PDF? Click here