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By Rishi Iyengar
September 5, 2014

A UNICEF report released Thursday reveals that 1 in every 10 girls around the world — or about 120 million in total — gets forced into intercourse or other sexual acts before the age of 20.

The report, data for which was collected from 190 countries, provides a comprehensive view of the sexual and physical violence perpetrated against children and youths.

Other findings show that 6 out of every 10 children worldwide between the ages of 2 and 14 are subjected to physical punishment by their parents or guardians, and that around 70 million girls ages 15 to 19 — almost a quarter of the global total — report being victims of some form of physical violence.

UNICEF executive director Anthony Lake said violence against children “cuts across boundaries of age, geography, religion, ethnicity and income brackets,” according to the BBC.

The report said boys also experience similar kinds of violence on a regular basis but not to the same extent. Data on violence against boys is not as widely available.

The report’s conclusions about social attitudes appear just as problematic, with 3 in 10 adults expressing the belief that physical punishment is necessary to raise children properly. Moreover, almost half of all girls ages 15 to 19 think a husband is sometimes justified in beating his wife.

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