Imagine a childhood disease that affects one in five girls and one in seven boys before the age of 18. The effects of this disease can include dramatic mood swings, erratic behavior and even severe conduct disorders.

It breeds distrust of adults; undermines the possibility of experiencing normal sexual relationships; increases the risk of substance abuse, sexually transmitted diseases and suicidal behavior; and compromises the health of future generations of parents and children.

Such a disease does exist; it's called sexual violence.

Sexual violence is a sex act completed or attempted against a person's will or against a person unable to consent because of age-appropriate cognitive ability, illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs. It may involve actual or threatened physical force, use weapons, coercion,intimidation or pressure. Other forms of sexual exploitation include voyeurism, pornography, sexual harassment and online solicitation for sex.

When most people think of...

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