It is difficult to estimate the true prevalence of pedophilia because few pedophiles voluntarily seek treatment and because most of the available data are based on individuals who have become involved with the legal system. It is unknown how many individuals have pedophilic fantasies and never act on them or who do act but are never caught. An estimated 1 in 20 cases of child sexual abuse is reported or identified. Two Canadian studies, which randomly sampled 750 women and 750 men between the ages of 18 and 27 years, found that 32% of the women and 15.6% of the men had experienced “unwanted sexual contact” before the age of 17 years. These numbers are similar to studies in the United States that report 17% to 31% of females and 7% to 16% of males experienced unwanted sexual contact before the age of 18 years. In the Canadian studies, of those reporting unwanted sexual encounters, 21% of the females and 44% of the males experienced repetitive assault Of note, most of the one-time offenses reported by females were committed by another adolescent of similar age. A strong correlation was found between the number of times either a girl or a boy was molested and the occurrence of eventual unwanted penetration (either vaginal or anal) One percent of the males, who were anonymously surveyed, reported having sexually assaulted a child themselves since they became an adult
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