Case 33

Sexual violence in a 17 year old girl in Japan


  1. To show that the victim of domestic violence often has poor knowledge about such violence.
  2. To show that, in many cases, young people do not realize that their date partner has treated them violently.
  3. To show the importance of notifying organisations working to prevent domestic violence

Narrative case

A 17-year old high school girl visited an obstetrics and gynaecology clinic for the prescription of oral contraceptives accompanied by a partner. After several visits for repeat prescriptions, the clinic staff noticed unusual behaviour by the girl’s partner. He always phoned the clinic to ask how the girl behaved and what she said in the clinic. After talking with the girl, the staff noticed signs of domestic violence [1].

The clinic decided to give the girl only short term prescriptions thereby aiming for more frequent visits and to have more time to talk with her. After many visits, she finally told them that she received frequent violence such as hitting, kicking, shooting by an air gun, and being forced to have sex without contraception [2].

The clinic notified a nonprofit organization (NPO) acting against domestic violence about this case. After 4 months, the NPO and the girl contacted her elder brother, the most intimate and reliable person of her relatives, for approval for the NPO’s intervention in this matter [3]. As she did not confide in her brother initially, her abusive relationship was prolonged.

With concrete advice and support by the NPO, the girl could behave in a more independent manner and finally separated from her partner after painstaking effort [4].

Learning Points

  1. Without an understanding of domestic violence, people, especially young people, do not recognize that they are victims of domestic violence. Educating pre-teens, teenagers, and young and older adults about domestic violence is essential
  2. There are many young people who do not recognize that violence from a date partner is domestic violence. There is a need for all healthcare workers to be able to recognize domestic violence as victim rarely come forward.
  3. An adviser close to the victim of domestic violence is important.
  4. In many cases, consultation with a specialized organization is important in changing the victim’s awareness of domestic violence and finding a solution to it. It is vital that staff in sectors which come into contact with victims of domestic violence are educated about it.

Background information

Sex education in Japanese schools is insufficient.


  1. Positive responses from 3,293 adults to a domestic violence questionnaire concerning such violence when 20 years old or younger (2012) showed:
  • Physical assault and/or psychological attack and/or sexual coercion:14% for females, 6% for males.
  • Physical assault: 8% for females, 4% for males.
  • Psychological attack: 8% for females, 4% for males.
  • Sexual coercion: 7% for females, 1% for males.

2. Responses to a domestic violence questionnaire 4413 responders out of 5000 questionnaires for high school and university students in Gifu Prefecture (2013)

  • Physical assault: 10% for females, 6% for males.
  • Psychological attack:34% for females, 24% for males
  • Sexual coercion: 16% for females, 3.% for males



  1. Survey on violence between men and women
  2. Women’s counselling centre. A year’s worth of consultations.
  3. Dating and domestic violence.