More than 3.3 million women in the US had unwanted and forced first sexual intercourse experience, a new study suggests.
The study, published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine, estimates that one in 16 US women had an unwanted first sexual intercourse experience that was physically forced or coerced.
The #MeToo movement has highlighted how frequently women experience sexual violence. However, no recent studies have assessed the prevalence of forced sex during girls' and women's first sexual encounter or its health consequences.
In an analysis of nationally representative survey data of 13,310 women, 6.5 per cent of the respondents reported a forced first sexual intercourse encounter, which is equivalent to more than 3.3 million women between the ages of 18 and 44.
The average age for women at the time of the forced encounter was 15-and-a-half compared with 17-and-a-half for those reporting a voluntary first sexual intercourse experience, according to researchers from Harvard University in the US.
The average age of the assailant at a first forced sexual intercourse was 27 as compared with the 21 of the partner in a voluntary first sexual experience, the study said.
According to the survey, women with a forced first sexual intercourse experience were more likely to have an unwanted first pregnancy or abortion, as well as other gynaecological and general health problems.
These findings could help doctors improve the medical care of women and girls and inform the development of public health policies aimed at reducing forced sexual initiation in the US, said the researchers.
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