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I am tired of disbelief.
I am tired of skepticism.
I am someone who does, genuinely, believe in the value of looking at things with a critical eye, of being cautious, of acknowledging that there are two sides to every story.
But I am tired of it when it comes to people who have been, or are being, harmed or made vulnerable.
In our work here at Scarleteen, we have people who talk with us about rape, or abuse, or relationships that they haven't yet pegged as abusive but that make my shoulders go up around me ears. And I have been asked:
Why do you believe them? How do you know they aren't presenting a biased opinion to get sympathy? There's always two sides to things.
The short answer is: because it is my job to believe them.
We, any of us who work with survivors, have a serious responsibility to, at the very, very least, believe them. They don't come to us for skepticism. They don't come to us to be told that they're overreacting, that they're lying, that they should think of the feeliRead more...
A friend of mine was in a relationship about 2 years ago. He's a guy. His girlfriend at the time pressured him into doing oral sex by saying that if he didn't do it that meant he didn't love her. Would that be sexual abuse? Because if a guy pressured a girl into giving him a blow job that would be considered sexual abuse and I'm just double-checking to see if that goes both ways.
Scarleteen's users are diverse, as are the reasons they find us, and the issues they bring to us. For some, the needs are as basic as needing to know how and when to use a condom or a hormonal contraceptive, or learning the names and functions of body parts. Some want help figuring out if sex with another person is something they want or not, or are ready for; some need help learning to negotiate or assert their sexual or interpersonal wants and needs. Many just need to know, from especially from someone who doesn't want anything from them, that it's okay for them to have sexual feelings and a sexuality. Many users like these have access to sexual healthcare, supportive and caring families or communities, and haven't experienced great sexual or interpersonal traumas. For those users, we're often something they need, but not something they can't manage without. We're a valuable helper, but not the only help they've got to draw on.
Some of our users come to Scarleteen just once or twicRead more...
That's it, just what seems -- to me, anyway -- to be a relatively simple request I'm putting out to the universe today, because it's something that comes up almost constantly in work and discussions around sexuality, something where I've grown impatient waiting for change.
I'm asking what I'm asking as an advocate for survivors, as a survivor myself and as someone deeply invested in sex being something truly beneficial for people, and which we only define as something people willingly, wantedly, choose to do when they do choose it.
Please stop calling rape sex (especially if you are not talking about your own experiences with sexual abuse and assault, where those experiences are things you yourself choose to call sex). Please stop calling rape or other kinds of sexual violence things like "unwanted sex."
Please stop saying someone engaged in sex when you know it was abuse or assault, suspect that it was, or just don't know if everyone involved was consenting. Please stop asking whRead more...
I'm 13 years old and my friend didn't go into detail, but she said she got raped by her dad(or her stepfather). she didn't tell her mom "because she'd get mad" and didn't think it would matter since her parents are getting a divorce and she'll move away with her mom soon. she doesn't want me to tell anyone and refuses to tell anyone. I can't change her mind about that because she's very stubborn.I know I should tell someone, but who should I tell?
Two years ago, I was raped by a boyfriend. I suppressed those feelings for a long time; I've only recently come to terms by calling it rape and I'm trying to be more open about my experience, in the hopes that it will help me heal. I've only told my two closest friends.
I'd like to tell my current significant other. I trust him, and I think it's fair he should know what problems I have before we get involved too deeply. I'm really nervous about this, though. How do I even start the conversation? What if he doesn't take it well? I'm definitely not in a place to discuss my rape in detail, but how do I talk about how rape affected my personal boundaries?