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Sexual minority adolescents consistently more likely to report physical, sexual violence

Given the substantial physical and emotional consequences of violence for those subjected to it and the large existing health disparities among sexual minority adolescents, addressing both physical and sexual violence against sexual minority adolescents should become a public health priority.

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Physical and sexual violence are known public health hazards, imposing physical and emotional burdens on those who experienced such violence; and adolescent members of the LGBTQIA community are believed to be at higher risk than their heterosexual peers for violence.

This was stressed in “Physical and Sexual Violence Among Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Questioning Adolescents”, a study by Theodore L. Caputi, MPH, Chelsea L. Shover, PhD and Ryan J. Watson, PhD that appeared in JAMA Pediatrics.

For this cross-sectional study, the researchers used pooled data from USA’s 2015 and 2017 YRBS public use files to broaden the sample size and scope of the analysis. The survey in each of these years had a response rate of 60%.

The YRBS uses a three-stage cluster sample of US counties within all states, schools within counties, and classrooms within schools to achieve a nationally representative sample of American adolescents. Participants in the YRBS in each year were asked to indicate their sex (female or male) and sexual orientation (heterosexual, gay or lesbian, bisexual, or not sure) and whether they had experienced any of three types of physical violence (past-year physical violence committed by a romantic partner, past-year physical fights anywhere, or past-year physical fights at school) and two types of sexual violence (lifetime forced intercourse, past-year sexual assault by a romantic partner). In 2017, participants were asked an additional question: whether they had experienced past-year sexual assault committed by anyone.

Of the 28 ,811 participants in the 2015 and 2017 YRBS, 87.1% reported their sexual orientation as heterosexual, 2.2% as gay or lesbian, 7.0% as bisexual, and 3.7% as not sure.

Sexual minority female adolescents were at an elevated risk of physical violence relative to the risk to heterosexual female adolescents.
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Twelve percent of sexual minority adolescents reported physical violence committed by a romantic partner, 27.6% engaged in a physical fight, and 11.1% engaged in a physical fight on school property. Furthermore, 20.6% of sexual minority adolescents reported experiencing sexual assault, 18.0% reported experiencing forced intercourse, and 12.5% reported experiencing sexual assault by a romantic partner.

After adjusting for confounders, sexual minority adolescents were consistently more likely than their heterosexual counterparts to report physical and sexual violence, including physical violence committed by a romantic partner (adjusted risk ratio [aRR], 1.97; 95% CI, 1.65-2.34) and sexual assault committed by anyone (aRR, 2.10; 95% CI, 1.68-2.58) in the preceding 12 months. Bisexual sexual minority adolescents were at a particularly elevated risk for violence, including physical violence committed by a romantic partner (aRR, 2.22; 95% CI, 1.82-2.67) and sexual assault committed by anyone (aRR, 2.36; 95% CI, 1.76-3.10).

Sexual minority female adolescents were at an elevated risk of physical violence relative to the risk to heterosexual female adolescents, including engaging in a physical fight anywhere (aRR, 1.74; 95% CI, 1.53-1.96) and engaging in a fight on school property (aRR, 1.91; 95% CI, 1.49-2.43). Sexual minority male adolescents had elevated risks of sexual violence relative to the risks to heterosexual male adolescents, including the risk of sexual assault (aRR, 4.64; 95% CI, 2.97-6.84) and the risk of forced intercourse (aRR, 4.70; 95% CI, 3.40-6.32).

Twelve percent of sexual minority adolescents reported physical violence committed by a romantic partner, 27.6% engaged in a physical fight, and 11.1% engaged in a physical fight on school property.
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The researchers noted that “sexual minority adolescents—particularly bisexual youth—are at an elevated risk for both physical and sexual violence. Given the substantial physical and emotional consequences of violence for those subjected to it and the large existing health disparities among sexual minority adolescents, addressing both physical and sexual violence against sexual minority adolescents should become a public health priority.”

And since the results suggest the existence of a crisis of violence against sexual minority adolescents, the researchers recommend working with policy makers and clinicians to design, implement, and assess interventions to reduce the risks and mitigate the harms of violence committed against sexual minority adolescents.

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Women more prone to depression in countries with low gender equality rankings

It’s well established that men and women differ in their self-perception, values, and personality traits, as well as stereotypes held with regards to representatives of one or the other sex. But a paper now says that women are more depressive, especially in societies with low gender equality rankings.

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It’s well established that men and women differ in their self-perception, values, and personality traits, as well as stereotypes held with regards to representatives of one or the other sex. Men typically find themselves more active, whereas women think of themselves as more sociable. But a paper now says that women are more depressive, especially in societies with low gender equality rankings.

Overall, scientists from 24 countries and regions contributed in the paper, including the UK, Saudi Arabia, the Netherlands, US, Greece, Germany, Brazil, Pakistan, Malaysia, Australia, Argentina, Georgia, Romania, Armenia, Chile, China (with Hong Kong as a separate participant), Turkey, Italy, and Mexico. Overall, 5,320 students were polled. Associate Professor of the KFU’s Department of Pedagogical Psychology Olga Lopukhova was one of the participants.

The paper showed a slightly different picture of sex differences in self-assessment among students than could be inferred from previous such polls.

“In all sampling groups, we cannot find proof of sex differences in a culture as a whole. Instead, we can see that women see themselves as more interdependent in the conditions of low gender equality and more independent in high gender equality. Men self-assess as more closed, whereas women feel more connected with others. There are no noticeable sex differences in the other two parameters of self-construal or in depressive symptoms,” said Lopukhova.

In the Russian version, the researchers added the interaction of the congruence of students to the culture type and their inclusion into social groups with their psychological wellbeing.

“The problem of psychological wellbeing and its factors becomes more and more popular in Russian and overseas research in light of the ever complicating conditions of personality adaptation to the fast-changing values, social norms, types of behavior, and interaction,” said Lopukhova. “Students are such a social group prone to the risks psychological non-wellbeing because of age factors, their changing social standing, and exposedness to adaptation and information overloads.”

Becoming a student is often inextricably linked with a change in cultural environment, be it moving to another country or city or moving from countryside to an urban dwelling. In any case, a student needs to go through adaptation and acculturation processes while starting their studies.

The Kazanian part of the poll comprised 488 respondents, 249 of whom were female and 239 male, aged from 18 to 28 years, from various universities of the city. The results showed that students with median congruence-to-culture ratios showed better psychological wellbeing. About a third of students had pronounced depressive symptoms and unsteady self-esteem, which calls for more attention to psychological support.

As KFU researchers found, the congruence (internally non-contradictory acceptance) of the normative values of the cultural environment is a cultural predictor of subjective wellbeing. Conversely, non-congruence, i. e. non-acceptance of behavioral norms, is a predictor of non-wellbeing and heightened depressive symptoms. Inclusion in social groups is also a predictor.

Overall, the presence of depressive symptoms is highly dependent on cultural congruence, whereas self-esteem is not.

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Child neglect linked to teen pregnancy

Neglected children, in particular, experienced higher rates of promiscuity, cannabis abuse and visual hallucinations as a result of their maltreatment.

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Children who experience neglect are seven times more likely than other abuse victims to have a teen pregnancy say University of Queensland researchers.

A study of the long-term impact of child abuse and neglect found that neglect was one of the most severe types of maltreatment when compared to emotional, sexual and physical abuse.

UQ researcher Emeritus Professor Jake Najman said the 20-year study found neglected children had the highest rates of teen pregnancy, and were at a three-to five-fold increased risk of failing school, unemployment, delinquency, anxiety, depression, psychosis and cannabis abuse problems.

“Although most children in our study experienced multiple types of maltreatment, child neglect and emotional abuse were specifically linked to the worst outcomes,” Emeritus Professor Najman said. “Neglected children, in particular, experienced higher rates of promiscuity, cannabis abuse and visual hallucinations as a result of their maltreatment.”

Child neglect was defined in the study as not providing the child with necessary physical requirements (food, clothing or a safe place to sleep) and emotional requirements (comfort and emotional support) a child should receive, as determined by the Queensland Government’s Department of Child Safety.

The study found children who experienced emotional abuse were also worse off than sexually or physically abused children.

“Emotionally abused kids were particularly prone to experiencing harassment, psychosis and injecting drugs,” he said.

Neglected children, in particular, experienced higher rates of promiscuity, cannabis abuse and visual hallucinations as a result of their maltreatment.

The researchers looked at data from 8000 women and children beginning in pregnancy and continuing into early adulthood.

Emeritus Professor Najman initiated the data project called Mater Hospital-University of Queensland Study of Pregnancy (MUSP) in 1981.

The study, led by UQ medical school and PhD graduate Dr Lane Strathearn, anonymously linked the data with state government reports of child abuse and neglect to examine how child maltreatment was associated with a broad range of outcomes over two decades, including cognitive, educational, psychological, sexual and physical health, and addiction.

Data showed that sexual and physical abuse led to fewer negative outcomes overall.

“Sexual abuse victims experienced early sexual activity, teen pregnancy, depressive symptoms, and post-traumatic stress disorder, but to a lesser severity than neglected children,” he said. “Physical abuse specifically tended to result in delinquency and externalising behavior problems as well as drug abuse.”

Emeritus Professor Najman said the findings stressed the need to prioritise support for at-risk parents and young children.

“These problems are extremely serious and difficult to treat in adulthood,” he said. “We need to do all that we can to prevent them from happening in the first place. Other studies have shown that simple interventions, such as nurses doing home visits for pregnant women and new mothers, can reduce rates of child maltreatment and help prevent some of these negative outcomes.”

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Atheists are more likely to sleep better than Catholics and Baptists

A new study of sleep, religious affiliation, and perceptions of heaven found that atheists and agnostics are significantly more likely to be better sleepers than Catholics and Baptists.

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A new study of sleep, religious affiliation, and perceptions of heaven found that atheists and agnostics are significantly more likely to be better sleepers than Catholics and Baptists.

Preliminary results show that 73% of atheists and agnostics reported getting seven or more hours of nightly sleep, which is recommended by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine to promote optimal health. In contrast, 63% of Catholics and only 55% of Baptists reported sleeping at least seven hours per night. Atheists and agnostics also reported experiencing less difficulty falling asleep.

“Mental health is increasingly discussed in church settings — as it should be — but sleep health is not discussed,” said lead author Kyla Fergason, a student at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. “Yet we know that sleep loss undercuts many human abilities that are considered to be core values of the church: being a positive member of a social community, expressing love and compassion rather than anger or judgment, and displaying integrity in moral reasoning and behavior. Could getting better sleep help some people grow in their faith or become better Christians? We don’t know the answer to that question yet, but we do know that mental, physical and cognitive health are intertwined with sleep health in the general population.”

The study involved a population-based sample of 1,501 participants in the Baylor Religion Survey, which includes questions on religious affiliation, behaviors, and perceptions. Participants also rated their difficulty falling asleep and their average total sleep time.

Results also show that those participants who reported sleeping seven or more hours per night were significantly more likely to believe that they would get into heaven. However, these perceptions of heaven were unrelated to difficulty falling asleep at night. According to the authors, this pattern indicates that better sleep leads to a more optimistic outlook, which in this case is manifesting as positive expectations of getting into heaven.

The research abstract was published in an online supplement of the journal Sleep.

Religion is, of course, a big issue in the LGBTQIA community. In 2019, for instance, a study found that persistence of “conversion therapy” is directly related to societal beliefs about LGBTIQ people and the degree to which their lives are deemed unacceptable within families, faiths, and societies at large.

Not surprisingly, even allies have been calling out faith-based discrimination. In 2019, for instance, Miss Universe 2018 Catriona Grey said that “religion is never an excuse to hate, put down or act indifferent to the suffering of others. I believe God is love, and I will treat everyone – no matter who they are, to best of my ability, with love.”

But even now in the Philippines, parties opposing the passage of the SOGIE Equality Bill frame themselves – and their arguments – as “for equality” and “for human rights for all”, but stress all the same that they do not support granting LGBTQIA people human rights because it supposedly affects their faith.

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A toxic trio of parental problems strongly linked to childhood sexual abuse

Adults who had parents who struggled with substance dependence, intimate partner violence and mental illness are more than 10 times more likely to have been victims of childhood sexual abuse than those whose parents did not have these problems, once age and race are taken into account.

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Adults who had parents who struggled with substance dependence, intimate partner violence and mental illness are more than 10 times more likely to have been victims of childhood sexual abuse than those whose parents did not have these problems, once age and race are taken into account.

The study, “A Trio of Risk Factors for Childhood Sexual Abuse: Investigating Exposure to Parental Domestic Violence, Parental Addiction and Parental Mental Illness as Correlates of Childhood Sexual Abuse”, by researchers at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work and Institute of Life Course & Aging, was published online this week in the journal Social Work.

With each risk factor present, the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse increased dramatically. About one percent of men and two percent of women who were not exposed to parental substance dependence, intimate partner violence, or mental illness reported that they had been sexually abused during their childhood.

For those exposed to one of these childhood adversities, the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse nearly tripled to 2.7 percent for men and 6.4 percent for women.

Exposure to two of the risk factors was linked to an additional increase in the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse (5.5 percent for men and 15.5 percent for women). For those who came from chaotic homes where all three main risk factors were present, the prevalence of childhood sexual abuse was 11.6 percent for men and 26.4 percent for women.

“The finding of more than a ten-fold difference in the prevalence of sexual abuse from those exposed to three childhood adversities to those with none was quite shocking,” says co-author Senyo Agbeyaka, a recent University of Toronto MSW graduate who is a social worker at University Health Network. “It is rare to see such a big effect and for the effect to be so consistent for both men and women.”

The researchers decided to conduct the study a second time in a different population-based independent sample in order to see if they could replicate the findings.

“The findings from both surveys were remarkably similar, suggesting that the associations are particularly robust and worthy of further investigation,” Agbeyaka says.

About one percent of men and two percent of women who were not exposed to parental substance dependence, intimate partner violence, or mental illness reported that they had been sexually abused during their childhood.

The study was based on two representative community samples: one study conducted in 2010 with 22,868 adults and the second, in 2012, with a different sample of 29,801 adults. The data were drawn from the Brief Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) and separate analyses were conducted for each sex. Two major limitations of the study are use of retrospective self-report of these early adversities and a lack of information on the exact timing when they occurred. The findings only indicate correlation and cannot be interpreted as causative.

“Our findings have important implications for improved screening for childhood maltreatment by social workers and other health and education professionals working with children,” says lead author Professor Esme Fuller-Thomson, Director of the Institute of Life Course and Aging at the University of Toronto’s Factor-Inwentash Faculty of Social Work. “We must not underestimate the negative impact of parental intimate partner violence, mental illness and substance dependence on the children in the household. Children are very vulnerable to sexual abuse in households where parents are struggling with several of these adversities.”

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Duterte grants ‘absolute pardon’ to murderer Pemberton

Getting away with murder, as Pres. Rodrigo Duterte granted “absolute pardon” to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted for the death of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

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Getting away with murder.

Pres. Rodrigo Roa Duterte granted “absolute pardon” to US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton, who was convicted for the death of transgender woman Jennifer Laude.

This was announced by Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) Secretary Teodoro Locsin Jr., who tweeted that: “Cutting matters short over what constitutes time served, and since where he was detained was not in the prisoner’s control — and to do justice — the President has granted an absolute pardon to Pemberton. Here at the Palace.”

According to the Parole and Probation Administration of the Department of Justice, absolute pardon is “the total extinction of the criminal liability of the individual to whom it is granted without any condition whatsoever resulting to the full restoration of his civil rights.”

Pemberton was initially sentenced to six to 12 years imprisonment by the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 74, in December 2015. He was found guilty of murdering Laude, who was found dead in a bathroom in a room in Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City on October 11, 2014.

Laude – who was only 26 years old at that time – was found with her head inside a toilet bowl. She was last seen alive with Pemberton.

But the RTC ordered his release after serving less than six years of his sentence, supposedly because of “good conduct” even if he had a special cell made for him, and he never mingled with other prisoners who could assess his conduct.

When Duterte eventually tackled this issue during a September 7 briefing, he said he is not “favoring anybody” – a surprising statement since he is the Philippines president, and American Pemberton was convicted for the crime.

But that the government has some “dapa” (failures), he said, because of the mandate re GCTA.

For Duterte, nobody can attest to Pemberton’s good character; but it is not his fault that no one documented this for him. He should, therefore, be given the presumption of having good character.
“It is not fair” to Pemberton, Duterte said, so he decided to “pardon” the murderer as he was not “treated fairly.”

Duterte – who fashioned himself as pro-LGBTQIA – earlier promised to form a commission for LGBTQIA Filipinos, just as he said he supports civil union for LGBTQIA Filipinos. But this move to release an American murderer of a Filipino transgender woman comes before fulfilling any pro-LGBTQIA pledges, including his refusal to push for the SOGIE Equality Bill as a priority bill in Congress.

*This article was amended at 8.43PM of September 7 to include the take of Pres. Rodrigo Duterte, who spoke on this issue during a briefing.

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After expressing non-support to LGBTQIA non-discrimination policy, AFP ready to help BuCor release murderer Pemberton

The move – while legal – may be seen as a PR nightmare for AFP, considering it expressed earlier that it doesn’t support an anti-discrimination policy to protect the rights of LGBTQIA Filipinos.

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The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) stated that it is ready to help the Bureau of Corrections (BuCor) in facilitating the release of convicted murderer US Marine Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton.

Pemberton is detained at a special jail at the AFP Custodial Facility by virtue of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) between the AFP and BuCor.

Pemberton was initially sentenced to six to 12 years imprisonment by the Olongapo City Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 74, in December 2015. He was found guilty of murdering transgender woman Jennifer Laude, who was found dead in a bathroom in a room in Celzone Lodge in Olongapo City on October 11, 2014.

Laude – who was only 26 years old at that time – was found with her head inside a toilet bowl. She was last seen alive with Pemberton.

When the RTC released its decision, it said that Pemberton admitted that he killed a “he-she.”

But in an order dated September 1, 2020, Olongapo RTC Presiding Judge Roline M. Ginez-Jabalde ordered the BuCor to release Pemberton from jail.

The Olongapo RTC said Pemberton has already served 2,142 days or over five years and eight months in prison while he was credited 1,548 days or over four years for his good conduct time allowance (GCTA).
The RTC decision is getting lambasted.

According to Major General Edgard Arevalo, AFP spokesperson, the military has yet to receive the release order of Pemberton. “We learned about the release order for USMC (US Marine Corps) Lance Corporal Joseph Scott Pemberton from media reports. But we have not received a copy of such release order yet,” Arevalo said.

The move – while legal – may be seen as a PR nightmare for AFP, considering it expressed earlier that it doesn’t support an anti-discrimination policy to protect the rights of LGBTQIA Filipinos.

During a virtual hearing at the House of Representatives, AFP gave a position paper stating that it rejects the proposed Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity and Expression (SOGIE) Equality bill, claiming that respect towards the LGBTQIA community may be given “without having to sacrifice the rights of the majority.”

“The AFP does not subscribe to the passage of SOGIE Bill… The AFP, as a government institution, does not discriminate any person based on sex and gender… The AFP has existing laws, policies, and standard operating procedures and other pertinent documents that protect personnel from discrimination.”

AFP added that it would be “unjust to grant special privilege to some persons at the expense of the basic rights of others… Respect and compassion towards our brothers and sisters in the LGBT community may be given without having to sacrifice the rights of the majority.”

For the AFP, policies that seek “to provide true equality among individuals are threatened to be violated if SOGIE bill will be pursued” because it supposedly caters to specific individuals.

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