By Rebecca Campbell | April 17, 2013 | CNN
Fifteen-year-old Audrie Pott got drunk at a party and passed out. What happened next, according to her family, was that she was sexually assaulted by multiple young men, who took photos and circulated them in their high school of more than 1,000 students. Not long afterward, Audrie, devastated and hopeless, committed suicide.
In Canada, Rehtaeh Parsons, then 15, was sexually assaulted by multiple perpetrators, according to her family, and photographs were also posted online for the world to see. She was tormented and bullied for more than a year with no legal action taken by the authorities, who stated there was “insufficient evidence” to file charges. Rehtaeh also committed suicide.
Why did these tragedies happen?
The rate of sexual assaults is alarmingly high among adolescents. Research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institute of Justice finds that 30% to 35% of female sexual assault survivors were first raped between the ages of 11 to 17. Many of these assaults occur when victims are under the influence of alcohol, and a surprising number of adolescent rapes involve multiple perpetrators. A recent study found that 12.4% of sexual assaults committed against 13- to 17-year-old teens were gang rapes.
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