Rape and Sexual Coercion, Age at Sexual Initiation and Age-Differences between Partners among Women in Colombia

Theresa M. Fedor , University of Houston

Women who experience sexual initiation (SI) at very young ages are much more likely to be at higher risk for negative sexual and reproductive health outcomes and mental health outcomes. Additionally, the reason that some women experience SI for the first time at very young ages could very well be related to coercion or even rape, and even more so with older sexual partners. In Colombia, the average age at SI has been decreasing drastically over time, and furthermore, there is a much larger proportion of younger teenage women with significantly older partners as compared to older teenage women. However, the joint relationship between sexual coercion, age at sexual initiation and age differences between partners in Colombia has not yet been explored. Using data from the 2015 Demographic and Health Survey for Colombia, this study aims to fill this gap by investigating the specific relationship between sexual coercion, age differences between partners and women’s age at SI, as well as investigate the role that rape and sexual coercion play in contributing to young women’s risk of adverse outcomes such as teenage pregnancy, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), interpersonal violence and negative mental health outcomes. Initial results confirm that the younger a woman is at SI, the more likely she is to have a significantly older male partner and to have been forced at one point in her life to have sex or perform sexual acts. Additional analyses will link these findings to risk of adverse health outcomes.

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 Presented in Session P1. Poster Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course