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Teen sexual violence a worry after Wealdstone charity survey
Teenagers believe aggressive and violent sex is the norm because of the effect of internet pornography, a charity says.
The WISH Centre, who have supported teenagers recovering from self-harm and violence from their base in Peel Road, Wealdstone, for eight years, carried out a random survey of teenagers in the town centre earlier this month.
They found that 100 per cent of the 80 who took part, who were interviewed by other teenagers, knew a girl that had been stalked, harassed, or experienced sexual violence.
Founder of the charity, Rowena Jaber, told the <i>Harrow Times</i> the prevalence of violent pornography and music videos, and cybersex amongst teens meant that their expectations of sex, and acceptance of what is normal, differed from their parents.
She said: “The people in this survey were just ordinary teens out shopping, so I think the results are frightening.
“We know it’s an issue because we work with the police and other agencies to try and tackle it, but to find that 100 per cent of people just out doing their shopping know someone who has experienced it is really unbelievable.
“There are a lot of girls now who are 13, 14, 15, who are learning about sex through the internet – their expectations of what is normal is so different to what their mothers expect them to be, whether that's sex being filmed, being violent or being with multiple partners.
“There’s also the element of shame – Harrow is a really diverse borough and a lot of these things go unreported because they think they just have to live with it.”
The charity plans to distribute an anonymous survey to all teens in the borough’s schools in the next few weeks to get a better understanding of what problems they are experiencing.
The centre, which provides counselling and support to teenagers recovering from self-harm or sexual violence, gets 80 per cent of its referrals from Harrow Council.
Ms Jaber added: “The reasons they self-harm is usually because they have been through some sort of domestic abuse or serious violence.
“What we have got is a dedicated worker who is here and does work with them, but the reality is that she is only here two days a week.”
She urged any teenagers experiencing violence to call or text the centre on 07834477981 or email