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2019 PeNSE: one out of every five female students has suffered sexual violence

September 10, 2021 10h00 AM | Last Updated: September 16, 2021 10h26 AM

Nearly 14.6% of students aged 13 and 17, has, at some point in their lives and against their will, been touched, manipulated, kissed or had some body parts exposed. In the case of girls, the percentage  (20.1%) is more than twice as that of boys (9.0%). Additionally, 6.3% of students reported having had to undergo sexual intercourse against their will at some point of their lives: 3.6% for boys and 8.8% fo girls.

This information is from the 2019 National Survey of School Health (PeNSE), which interviewed students from the 7th grade of primary education to the 3rd grade of secondary education. The depicted universe of the survey encompasses 11.8 million students aged 13 to 17, of whom 7.7 million were aged from 13 to 15 and 4.2 million, from 16 to 17. Boys were 5.8 million (49.3%) and girls, 6 million (50.7%). In public schools, 10.1 million students (85.5%) took part and in private schools, 1.7 million (14.5%). 

In 2019, 63.3% of the students had already tried alcoholic drinks and 34.6% had tried it before they were 14 years old. Near 47% of the students claimed to have gone drunk.

The use of illegal drugs at some point of their lives was reported by 13% of students and 4.3% used them for the first time before they were 14, with a greater proportion among public school students (4.6%) than among those of the private system (2.7%). Among the drugs listed, marijuana had been tried recently by 5.3% and crack by 0.6%.  As for tobacco, 22.6% of the students declared having smoked at some point of their lives and 11.1% smoked for the first time before they were 14. This percentage in the public system (11.9%) is almost twice as the one found in the private one (6%).

In 2019, 35.4% of the students had already started their sexual lives, of whom 63.3% used condoms in their first time and 40.9% did not use them in their last sexual intercourse. Among the girls that had already had sex, 7.9% got pregnant at some point of their lives. Among public school students, this percentage was of 8.4%, whereas among private school students, it was 2.8%.

PeNSE found out that 79.7% of teenagers that had already had sex resorted to contraceptive methods other than condoms: 52.6% were on pills at their last sexual intercourse, 17.3% were on morning-after pills and 9.8%, on contraceptive injections.

Nearly 11.6% of students aged 13 to 17 (1.3 million students) gave up on school because they did not feel safe in commuting.

As for bullying, 23% of the students declared to have felt humiliated by their mates in the last 30 days. The percentage of girls (26.5%) surpassed that of boys (19.5%).

2019 PeNSE asked students if they felt threatened, offended or humiliated on social media or apps: 13.2% answered affirmatively.

About 49.8% of students aged 13 to 17 considered their body normal, 28.9% of them thought they were thin or very thin and 20.6%, fat or very fat.

PeNSE sought to capture how adolescents felt in the 30 days prior to the survey: 21.4% said they felt that life was not worth living, 29.6% of girls and 13.0% of boys.

Less than half (49.7%) of students in public schools had a computer, while in private schools this percentage was 89.6%.

About 68.6% of students had oral hygiene three times or more a day, a percentage higher than that of  the United States and Europe, but which decreased compared to 2015 (71.7%).

34.6% of the students had their first alcohol dose under the age of 14

In 2019, 63.3% of the students had already tried a dose of alcohol (a can or long neck bottle of beer or vodka-ice or a glass of draft beer or a glass of wine or a dose of cachaça/pinga (liquor), vodka, whiskey etc), against 61.4% in 2015, of which 34.6% had taken their first dose under 14 years old. For girls the indicator is even higher (36.8% against 32.3% for boys). In 2015, this indicator stood at 29.2% for girls and 32.1% for boys.

Of the students that had alcohol at any point of their lives, 47.0% went drunk and 15.7% had problems with family or friends, lost classes or fought once or more because they had drunk alcohol. This percentage for girls (17.1%) surpassed that of boys (14.0%) and the figure for private schools (17.6%) surpassed that of public schools (15.3%).

Among the students in 2019 the prevalence of at least one dose of alcohol in the last 30 days was of 28.1%, of which 30.1% was among girls and 26.0%, among boys. The most common way of access was parties (29.2%), followed by supermarkets (26.8%),  friends (17.7%) and at home, with some family member (11.3%). Nearly 9.7% of students had four or more doses of alcohol in the same day.

13% of students have already used some illicit drug

In 2019, 13.0% of the students had already used some illicit drug at some moment of their lives, with a greater proportion of public school students (13.3%) than private school students (11.4%). Regionally, the greatest proportions were in the Federal District (21.0%), Paraná (19.0%) and São Paulo (18.3%) and the lowest, in Bahia (5.5%), Alagoas (6.6%) and Pará (7.0%).

The students that used for the first time under the age of 14 were 4.3%, with a greater proportion in public schools (4.6%) than in private schools (2.7%).

Recent use, i. e., in the 30 days prior to the survey, stood at 5.1%, ranging from 3.2% for student aged 13 to 15 to 8.7% for those aged 16 to 17. The indicator was bigger among boys (5.6%) than girls (4.7%), and among public school students (5.3%) than private school ones (4.4%).

By kind of substance, marijuana had been recently used by 5.3% and crack, by 0.6%.

22.6% od students have already tried tobacco

In 2019, 22.6% od students had smoked a cigarette some time in their lives. At the age of 13 to 15, the proportion of girls (18.4%) surpasses that of boys (15.6%). For teenagers aged 16 to 17, it is the other way around: 35% for boys and 30.3% for girls.

About 11.1% of the students smoked for the first time before they were 14, this indicator in public schools (11.9%) is almost twice as much (6.0%) as that of private schools. Although sales are forbidden for those under 18, the most common way of getting cigarettes (37.55%) was buying them at a store, bar, bakery or newsstand. In 2019, 26.9% of students had already tried hookah and 16.8%, electronic cigarettes.

More than one third of students aged 13 to 15 have already had sex

In 2019, 35.4% of students aged 13 to 17 reported having had sexual intercourse, a drop of 2.1 percentage points in relation to 2015 (37.5%). In public schools, this percentage (37.5%) was higher than in the private ones (23.1%).

At the group aged 16 to 17, 55.8% of students had already initiated their sexual life. At the group aged 13 to 15, the percentage was lower (24.3%). Among the boys, the index of adolescents that had had sexual intercourse is higher (39.9%) than among the girls (31%). The average age for sexual initiation is 13.4 for boys and 14.2 for girls.

Among students that had had sex, 63.3% used a condom at their first time

Among the students who had already started their sexual lives, 63.3% of them used condoms in the first intercourse. The survey also showed that 40.0% of students bought their condoms (at drugstores, supermarkets or stores) and 22.1% got them at health centers. In 21.7% of the cases, condoms were provided by their partners.

Pills were the most used contraceptive method (only behind condoms), used by most of the students (52.6%). Morning-after pills (17.3%) and contraceptive injections (9.8%) were the second and third more used types. These three methods were used in the last sexual relation by almost 80% of the adolescents that had had sex.

In 2019, 45.5% of girls aged 13 to 17 that had had sex had morning-after pills some time in their lives.

Pregnancy in public schools is almost three times higher

Among the girls aged 13 to 17 that had had sex, 7.9% got pregnant at some point in their lives. In public schools, the proportion is 8.4%, whereas among girls in private schools the percentage is almost three times smaller: 2.8%.

Regionally, the greater occurrence of pregnancy among teenagers that had had sex was in the Northeast (10.9%), where the state of Alagoas reached the highest figure (15.3%). On the other hand, the South Region (5.2%) and the sate of Santa Catarina (3.7%) had the lowest percentages.

Sexual violence reaches one in every five girls aged 13  to 17

Nearly 14.6% of students aged 13 and 17, had, at some point in their lives and against their will, been touched, kissed or had undergone some kind of body exposure. Cases of sexual abuse were more common among girls (20.1%), with an index twice as big as for boys (9.0%)

In private schools there were more cases of this kind of violence (16.3%) than in the public ones (14.4%). In the comparison with the two age groups, students aged 16 to 17 had a higher percentage of this kind of occurrence (17.4%, against 13.2% for students aged 13 to 15). Students from the North Region had a higher occurrence of this kind of violence (17.1%), with a higher percentage in Amapá (18.2%).

Among students who were sexually abused, 29.1% indicated the boyfriend or girlfriend as the aggressor; 24.8%, a friend; 20,7, a stranger and 6.3%, a parent or guardian.

Rapes were reported by 8.8% of girls and 3.7% of boys

About 6.3% of students were forced into sex. Among the boys, this percentage was 3.7% and, among the girls, 8.8%. The cases were higher among public school students (6.5%) than among students from private schools (4.9%). In 68.2% of the cases of non-consensual sex, the student was 13 years old or younger when the violence took place.

For this type of aggression, boyfriends or girlfriends (26.1%) and a relative (22.3%) were the main actors. But a stranger (19.2%), friend (17,7%), person other than the listed ones (14.7%) and parent or guardian (10.1%) had relevant percentages as well.

26.5% of girls and 19.5% of boys have already been bullied

In 2019, about 23.0% of students felt humiliated by their mates twice or more in the 30 days prior to the survey. Percentages were bigger for girls (26.5%) than for boys (19.5%). The three most common reasons for bullying were physical appearance (16.5%), face appearance (11.6%) and color or race (4.6%).

12.0% of students had already bullied their mates

As bullies, 12.0% of the students had bullied somehow a mate, with bigger proportions among boys (14.6%) than girls (9.5%). Proportionally bigger also among public school students (13.5%) than private school ones (11.8%).

13.2% of students have been offended on social media

In 2019 PeNSE, students were asked if they have felt threatened, offended or humiliated on social media or cellular apps in the 30 days prior to the survey: 13.2% answered affirmatively. The proportion of girls (16.2%) was bigger than that of boys (10.2%).  Public school students (13.5%) had percentages a little bigger than those of private school ones (11.8%)

21.4% of students reported having felt life was not worth living

In 2019, 4.0% of students did not have any close friends.  The percentage of adolescents in public schools without friends (4.3%) is much higher than that of private schools.

PeNSE sought to capture the way adolescents felt in the 30 days prior to the survey. More than half (50.6%) were very worried with common daily things quite often or always. Girls (59.8%) worried more than boys (41.1%) and private school students (63%) worried more than public school ones (48.5%).

Additionally, 40.9% of the adolescents felt irritated, nervous or bad-humored quite often or always. And 30% of the teenagers believed that no one cared about them most of the time.

An even more alarming fact is that in 21.4% of them claimed to feel that life was not worth living, of whom 29.6% were girls and 13.0%, boys.

More than half of teenagers think they are too fat or too thin

Between 2015 and 2019, there was a decrease of satisfaction in relation to one’s own body (70.2% in 2015 against 66.5% in 2019) and growth of dissatisfaction (19.1% to 22.2%), much higher among girls (31.4%) than among boys (12.8%).

Less than half of the students (49.8%) self-evaluate their bodies as “normal”. The figure dropped over 2015 (52.5%). About 28.9% of the students think they are thin or too thin and 20.6% think they are fat or too fat. However, self-image of overweight female teenagers (25.2%) is almost 10 percentage points higher than that of male teenagers.

Almost one third of adolescents said they had tried to lose weight somehow, girls being more worried about that than boys (27.9% against 21.5%).  To try to lose weight, 6.1% of the students resorted to self-induced vomiting or laxatives and 5.4% used drugs for this purpose without medical supervision.

Usual consumption of soft drinks fell from 27.2% to 17.2% between 2015 and 2019

PeNSE investigated the usual consumption (in five or more days, in the week before the survey) of healthy food (beans, vegetables, green vegetables and fresh fruit) and unhealthy food (sweet treats and soft drinks).

The greater proportion was of students who had beans (59.0%), followed by sweet treats (32.8%) and vegetables and green vegetables (28.8%). Fresh fruit and soft drinks decreased over 2015, from 30.9% to 26.9% and from 27.2% to 17.2%, respectively.

About 35.6% of the students of private schools regularly ate vegetables and green vegetables, against 27.7% of students of public schools.

48.4% of public school students never or hardly ever eat school lunch

In 2019, 75.3% of public school students reported availability of school lunch. Of them, 77.8% ate it, with a 10.0% change comparing private school students (85.3%) and public school ones (77.5%).

Although almost all students (99.4) attend schools that reported offering school lunch for some grade/class and other 95.5% of students go to schools with suitable kitchens, nearly half of the respondents (48.4%) had never or hardly ever eaten the offered meal.

38.5% of boys and 18.0% of girls were physically active

In 2019, nearly 28.1% of the Brazilian students were physically active (exercising 300 minutes or over in the week before the survey), of whom 38.6% were boys and 18.8% were girls.

Conversely, 8.7% of the students were inactive (no exercise). The survey considers physical activity the journey from home to school and from school to home, the classes of physical education at school and other physical activities out of school.

11.6% of students gave up on school because of unsafe commute

In 2019, 11.6% of students aged 13 to 17 (1.3 million students) gave up on school because they did not feel safe while in their way to school and back home. In public schools, the percentage was 12.5%, two times higher than the one seen in private schools (6.1%).

Among the students who gave up school for unsafe commute, 95.1% attended schools where headmasters or parents had heard of violent episodes in the area.

In public schools, this percentage was of 95.7% and in private schools, 88.5%. Rio de Janeiro (the state) had the greatest percentage of students who were absent at least one day of the 30 days prior to the survey due to unsafe commute (17.6%)

Students report physical violence and even use of guns

About 10.6% of students have engaged in physical fight, with the  percentage for boys (14.6%) more than twice as big as that of girls (6.7%) Additionally, 2.9% of the students had engaged in gunfights.

About 4.8% of students had engaged in fights with knives and the like in the 30 days prior to the survey. Public school students were the ones that reported more engagement in those episodes (5.1% against 3.0% in private schools). The percentage of boys involved in that kind of fight (6.7%) was more than two times that for girls (3.0%).

5.2% of the students got involved in “self-harm” incidents

Among accidents and aggression that students reported having had in the last 12 months, the percentage of “self-harm” (5.2%) called the attention. Although it is low, it indicates mental health issues. More than 60% of the cases were related to depression, anxiety and difficult relationships at home and at school.

Of the total students, 21.0% reported having been assaulted by relative or guardian at some point in the last 12 months. The majority of the victim of this kind of violence were those aged 13 to 15 (23.0%, against 17.3% for those aged 16 to 17), the girls (22.1%) and private school students (23.6%).

In 2019, mothers of 17.1% of the students had a higher degree

In 2019, about 17.1% of the mothers of students had a higher degree, against 13.7% in 2015. At public schools, 25.8% of mothers were uneducated, against 4.3% in private schools.

The proportion of mothers with a higher degree was 47.7% in private schools and 12.0% in public schools.

89.6% of private school students and 49.7% of public school students had a computer

Nearly 84.1% of students had cellular phones, of whom 95,7% were from private schools and 82.2%, from public schools. As for computer or laptop, 55.5% of the students’ households had them: 89.6% for private school students and 49.7% for public school ones. The South Region, with 66.4%, had the greatest percentage and the Northeast, with 39.7%, the lowest. The Internet was present at the homes od 86.9% of the students - 98.6% in private school students’ homes and 84.9% in public school students’ homes.

In the last years, there was a significant increase of motorcycle sales in Brazil, due to the rise in fast-food applications. Asked if anyone living at the same household had a motorcycle, 40.5% answered affirmatively: 42.7% were from public schools and 27.9%, from private schools. As for cars, 57.4% answered affirmatively: 52.6% from public schools and 85.7% from private ones.

Public school students have less access to the Internet and computer equipment

Multimedia resources, as computers and tablets, were available at classroom for 74.7% of the students, being more common for private school students (84.9%) than for public schools ones (73.0%). The largest proportion was found in the South region (87.1%) and the smallest in the North (61.6%) and Northeast (61.9%) regions.  Among the states, the two extremes were Rio Grande do Sul (93.7%) and Maranhão (25.1%).

Access to the school's Internet was available to 60.5% of students, 58.1% in public schools and 74.4% in private schools.  Computer rooms or labs were available to 62.8% of the students, 61.0% in public schools and 73.6% in private ones.

Vaccination takes adolescents to Basic Health Centers, but 7.7% are afraid

About 55.9% of students said they missed classes at least one day for health reasons in the 12 months prior to the survey.  Students in private schools were the ones who missed classes the most for this reason (66.5%, against 54.1% in public schools). And girls (59.2%) more than boys (52.5%). In addition, 56.2% of students reported having sought health services or professionals in the last 12 months, and in private schools (71.4%) the percentage was much higher than in public ones (53.6%).

Vaccination was the main reason indicted by the students the last time they looked for a Basic Health Center (27.3%).  PeNSE found out that 76.1% of the girls and 49.1% of the boys aged 13 to 17 were vaccinated against HPV. A significant share of adolescents were not vaccinated (13.9%) or did not know if they were (23.2%).

Oral hygiene is better than in developed countries, but it fell

As for oral hygiene, 68.6% of students aged 13 to 17 reported brushing their teeth three or more times a day.  A better figure than that found in the United States or Europe, for example, where the most common is once or twice a day.  However, in 2015 this rate in Brazil reached 71.7%, which suggests that there has been a worsening in the brushing habit in recent years.