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Don't Assume

When you're reading, interacting at/with or addressing Scarleteen, especially when interacting with staff, volunteers and other readers or users, we ask that everyone please try not to make assumptions about each other.

When in doubt, or when you're curious about someone's life, body, identity, history, ideas, feelings, beliefs or motives, just ask. It's always okay here to ask respectfully, even though sometimes people may choose not to answer or share certain information.

Haven't asked someone about something and had them answer you directly? Haven't read something a person wrote here that gives you the information about them you consider to be true, or clearly self-identifies things about them you're thinking?

Then don't assume...

  • Any one person speaks or is speaking for everyone.
  • That everyone is here for the same reasons you are.
  • What someone's motives in something are, like in asking or answering a question, seeking out help, or choosing to disclose or withhold information.
  • How old or young someone is, or that they're a teen, young adult or older adult.
  • That someone is a given race or nationality.
  • That everyone has the same kinds of body or beauty ideals you do, or feels pressure to conform to the same kinds of ideals.
  • That everyone has a certain kind of family or home or has both/either family and home.
  • That a given thing that was easy or hard for you was easy or hard for someone else, or that an experience you had did or did not have the same impact on someone else it did on you.
  • That all things have the same effect on all people.
  • That anything is univerally yucky or universally yummy.
  • That because someone does not identify one way, they must automatically identify as something else you feel is the "other" option.
  • That "culture" or "society" is the same everywhere, or that someone else's culture must be the same as yours.
  • That everyone has the same kind of social and interpersonal opportunities or available support systems.
  • What someone's religion/spiritual belief system is, what someone's politics are, or what someone's personal values are.
  • That someone has the same rights and privileges you do.
  • That someone's sexual, physical or other kinds of development have happened or are happening at the same ages or life stages as they have happened or are happening for you.
  • If someone does or does not have disabilities; what someone's body can or cannot do.
  • That someone does or does not, has or has not had, sexually transmitted illness or other sexual health conditions.
  • What someone's economic class is.
  • What someone's level of education is, or what that education has entailed.
  • What someone's life or sexual history is.
  • That your own "right" number (should you have one) of sexual partners or experiences is what is or has been right for someone else.
  • That the amount of knowledge someone has or does not have about sex does indicates their level of sexual experience.
  • What someone's relationships have been like.
  • If someone has or has not had trauma or abuse in their lives.
  • That someone does or does not have certain resources.
  • That people have or have not been pregnant; have or have not made certain choices with pregnancy or would or would not make certain choices with pregnancy.
  • That everyone is at risk of pregnancy.
  • That everyone has the same ideas about and experiences with gender.
  • That someone's body looks a certain way because of how they identify their gender.
  • That someone will act or think in certain ways because of their gender, sexual orientation, age, race, social status or any other broad classification.
  • That someone is a certain sex or gender because of what kind of sex they have or sound like they have, how they talk, who they sexually or interpersonally partner with, what their politics are or where they're from.
  • If someone has or has not had sexual partners.
  • What kinds of sex someone has or has not had, likes or does not like.
  • What someone's sexual orientation is.
  • That someone is out.
  • That if someone has done or is doing sex work, that tells you anything about them except that they have done or are doing sex work.
  • If someone does or does not want romantic or sexual relationships, or certain kinds of those relationships, like monogamy or marriage.
  • What someone's primary language or way of communicating is.
  • That someone is suggesting something based only or solely on their personal, subjective experiences.
  • That someone is a given way offline, because they're a given way online, or that what you read about someone they have put online tell you all there is to know about them.
  • That everyone defines things -- like sex, gender, relationships or personal identities -- the way you do.
  • That everyone's experiences have been identical or similar to yours.
  • That everyone's sexual ideals or ethics are the same as yours.
  • That any given word means the same thing to everyone.
  • That what worked for you will work for anyone or everyone else.
  • That someone is automatically very similar to you or very different.
  • That general or broad information given to you about sexuality or sexual health tells you anything about a person's own sexual health or sex life and experiences.
  • That one kind or avenue of education or one way of teaching or learning works for everyone or is assumed to work for everyone.
  • That anyone is right about everything.

If you ever feel that our staff, volunteers or another user is/are or have been making assumptions, please let us know, and we'll address it amongst ourselves and with you. Have something else you'd like to see added to this list? Email us and we'll get it in!

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.