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Scarleteen By The Numbers: The Results of Our Demographics Survey

Every day, around 20,000 to 30,000 people come to Scarleteen online. We already know some basics about who our users are via backend site logs, Alexa, Google Analytics, the direct ways we engage with users daily and some demographics from years ago. This summer, we created a new demographics survey as part of a potential partnership with a fellow organization, and to get an additional, fresh source of information for ourselves.

Many of users mentioned they'd be curious about the survey results, one reason why we're sharing them with you here. Our supporters and potential supporters also often ask us about who our users are. In addition, we wanted to see these results too, to help us keep doing the best job we can. I'd like to share, then talk about some of the results with that aim.

We decided to limit our survey to 2,000 participants who completed it, a number that was manageable but also statistically significant. So, we cut the survey off once we had that number. We recruited for

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Can you help us help young people with Find-a-Doc?

Early this year, after a lot of struggling with the tech and funding, we rolled out Find-a-Doc, our database system to help young people find quality, in-person services like sexual and reproductive healthcare, counseling, and LGBT, youth and domestic violence crisis shelters and services. The database includes a rating system so that those who have used the services can add recommendations or comments to help other users choose services, or know things about services from a first-person perspective. As you probably know yourself, we all tend to feel a lot better about using a service someone else has personally recommended or vetted: that's why we set up Find-a-Doc, and did so the way that we did.

We also use the database as staff and volunteers when working one-on-one with a user to help them find in-person services they need. But since it's been slow-going to get the database packed, we still have to spend a good deal of time searching in other ways, which is far less efficient and

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Scarleteen Direct Service Response Time Changes

Just a quick update about a change starting at Scarleteen, for those who use our direct services.

With both our message boards and text service, we have told our users for many years now that they can expect a reply from a staff member or volunteer within 24 hours, though most have usually received replies more quickly than that, often even within minutes at certain times of day.

We need to make an adjustment to that timetable. Starting today, users of our direct services should be prepared for a window of waiting as long as potentially 48 hours (but more realistically, a few hours rather than within minutes).

Over the last year, we've been more short-handed with volunteers than usual. Some of our core volunteers have been winding up working more hours than volunteers should be expected to work. Per usual, our very modest budget also does not allow us to hire additional staff. Being shorthanded here is often especially typical during the summer months. Alas, that also happens to be th

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Our Volunteers: To Sex::Tech or Bust!

I'm writing today to make a modest funding ask of our allies and our readers capable of financial contributions on behalf of our volunteers.

What we're looking to do is to raise enough funds for all of our volunteers, who are able, to fly to San Francisco this April and attend the sex::tech conference together.

Doing so would allow them to appear on a panel we're giving composed of young adult peer online educators, in which they can talk about being educators and engage in a discussion with attendees which will, I expect, influence both attendees and the volunteers positively. I feel it's very important for them to be able to experience some outside, in-person recognition for the fantastic work they've done over the years and want that for them very much. This will also allow as many of us as possible to meet in person and do some important brainstorming about Scarleteen as a website and an organization. Many of them have never met in person, despite sometimes talking online for

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That Guy

Anyone who knows me or who knows anything about me usually knows that my pre-teen and teen years were incredibly difficult. I dealt with neglect and abuse in my family, starting from about the time I was 10. I was sexually assaulted twice before I even became a teenager. I was queer. I was suicidal and was a self-injurer. I struggled to find safe shelter sometimes. Few people seemed to notice, even though after I gave up trying to use my words, I still used my eyes to try and tell them constantly. The one adult I could count on over time to be unilaterally supportive of me had (still has) serious mental illness. I had to take more adult responsibility at the end of my teen years than anyone else I knew. Like many adolescents, I constantly heard directly or got indirect messages from adults who talked about how awful teenagers were, how awful I was, how difficult, how impossible, how loathesome. Four days after my sixteenth birthday, the first real-deal big-love-me-lover I had, who tre

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One Teenager in Ten

This is a guest entry from The Gaytheist Gospel Hour as part of the blog carnival to support Scarleteen.

Preface: I was recently asked to participate in a blogathon to support Scarleteen, an online sex education forum for teens. I was flattered. I was humbled. I was a little queasy and had to breathe in a bag for a minute or 12. I decided to contribute the story of how I survived homophobic bullying thanks a single library book. I’m living proof that progressive sex education (no matter how small-scale) makes an enormous difference in the lives of the very young. It’s my hope that all who read my sarcastic, satirically-tinged autobiographical account will consider making an enormous difference by supporting Scarleteen.

"In this life, things are much harder than in the afterworld/ In this life, you’re on your own!" —Prince

High school is a laugh riot. It’s a jolly funhouse where the unpopular and the unusual are punished for their crimes against conformity with a topsy-turvy

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Some More Scarleteen Blog Carnival Highlights

We're just getting caught up with the myriad of fantastic blog entries that are part of the blog carnival that's been going on over the last three weeks as an effort to help cultivate support for Scarleteen. We've been reprinting some entries here at our blog, and will keep up with that, but here are a handful we can link right to for you to take a look at:

From Cory Silverberg at About.Com:

Scarleteen does sex education from a social justice model. Whether it's an article on the site, a response in the forums, or a request for more information in order to refer a youth out, they acknowledge the multiple ways that youth are systemically denied basic rights and access to sex education and sexual health. It's not unusual for a question about, say contraception or sexual pleasure, to elicit an answer that accessibly and seamlessness weaves information about race, class, and gender, in with information about how to go about choosing and accessing contraception, or negotiating with a part

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My Personal Journey: Long Term Effects of Sex-Negative Teen Sex Education

This guest post is from Anita Wagner at Practical Polyamory, and is part of the month-long blogathon to help raise funds for Scarleteen!

When I was recently asked to write a blog post for the Scarleteen blogathon, I had no hesitation about agreeing. I had the pleasure of meeting and having lunch with Scarleteen founder and comprehensive teen sex ed resource Heather Corinna during a trip to the northwest in summer 2009. Let there be no doubt, Heather is one of my all time heroes for the work she does to make sure teens get comprehensive sex education information. I care about this subject very deeply, as the following story will illustrate.

I grew up in an area that is pretty much to this day an exceedingly conservative part of the United States. When I came of age, good parents zealously guarded their daughters' virtue by attempting to control the what, where, when, and most importantly, who, of their daughters' social lives. Sex ed, after a fashion, was taught in health and hyg

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These are Good Things.

This is a guest post from Wendy Blackheart, at Heart Full of Black, for the Scarleteen blogathon. Want to take part? Toss us an email and we'll get you in touch with Laura, our blogathon organizer!

Ah, Scarleteen. I can actually remember a time before Scarleteen – they started up in 1998, when I was in 8th grade. See, I went to a school where 99.9% of our sexual health information was from an abstinence only program.

The school sex ed actually started out okay – in grades 3 and 5 we had health classes where we learned about the human body and how it works. In 5th grade, we separated out into groups of just boys and just girls, and got some of the details of puberty and what would happen to our bodies. We learned where babies came from and all that before the abstinence-only programs were started.

By high school, however, we were not getting much in the way of good information. We didn’t learn about birth control at all – it wasn’t even mentioned, not even in a negative way. We saw lo

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Sex Education Is A Political Act.

This guest post from Arvan at SexGenderBody is part of a blog carnival to raise awareness and funding for Scarleteen.

In terms of group politics - there are large groups of people who are fighting to prevent you from learning any facts about sex. Facts that can effect your health, income, present, future, career, happiness, ability to have or enjoy sex, choice of sex partners and even the ability to have sex.

People get elected using by using sex to scare voters - queer sex, teen sex, unmarried sex, kinky sex, fun sex, sex of any kind. Cultural practices and commonly held beliefs about sex punish or shame people for even discussing sex, much less teaching it to a classroom.

Organized religions and self-appointed 'holy men' claim to speak for their god in calling sex a sin. Sex is a fact of mammalian evolution and humans are mammals. That undisputable, proven fact is a direct challenge to the notion of sin and therefore a challenge to any religious or secular institution that bel

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