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How do I approach my college about sexual assault awareness?

Annie W. asks:

Beginning in September, I am going to be employed as Residence Don for an all girls floor at a university. I am pretty excited about the job and really would like to make residence life a positive experience for the students I will be living with (about 170 guys and gals in total).

However, there is one MAJOR issue I have with the residence, they offered no sexual assault awareness education for the students. In the 2008-09 school year, there were 3 sexual assaults reported, which lead to criminal charges, and almost all I have talked to who have lived in this residence for multiple years have either been sexually assaulted themselves or had a friend who was while living there.

So, clearly, something is needed to change this residence culture that seems to be conducive to sexual violence.

The Young Women's Empowerment Project

The mission of the Young Women’s Empowerment Project is to offer safe, respectful, free-of-judgment spaces for girls and young women impacted by the sex trade and street economies to recognize their goals, dreams and desires.

Heather and Dan on How It Gets Better

In hindsight, I knew when I was around ten or eleven that I was queer: that I had and was experiencing growing sexual and romantic feelings for people of all genders, not just those of one of for those of a different sex or gender than me, feelings I'd continue to have throughout my teen years and my adult life to date. I didn't have the language for it then, though, even though there were queer adults in my orbit I could have gotten it from, adults I naturally gravitated towards without realizing a big part of why was because I saw myself in them and I really needed them. Looking back, others identified my orientation before I did: a homophobic grandparent, an uncomfortable parent as well as a comfortable and readily accepting parent, and, most important to this particular tale, a group of teenage meanies in the blessedly brief time I spent in a suburban public high school in the 80's who sometimes whispered but other times yelled, "Dyke!" or "Lesbo!" as they passed me in the halls.

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Was it sexual harassment? Was it my fault?

Ms.dee asks:

Is it consider sexual harassment if some guy fingered my vagina, but I didn't want him to...I'm now 17 and this happened when I was 13, I haven't told anyone about this...I wanna know if it's my fault that this happened. We were on a bus and this guy undid my pants and fingered me. I didn't want it to happen, but I was too scared to stop him. Is it my fault? I mean, when he tried to kiss me I did sort of slide away. Is this my fault?

Building Bridges: Sexual Orientation Shifts

Time for another installment of Building Bridges, where we facilitate, then publish a conversation between two people in different life stages who have something with gender, sexuality and/or relationships in common. This time, our intergenerational pair is two women who have had their sexual orientation and identity shift for them during the course of their lives.

Amy & Candice: Shifting Sexual Orientation

Amy, 24: I came out as a lesbian at 14 and was, as I call it, "a Professional Gay" for a long time. I interned for activist organizations, ran the GSA at my high school, got a scholarship from a local LGBT organization for my activism and went on to a women's college where I eventually became co-chair of the LGBT organization on campus. I was, as a friend once said "her definition of gay."

Looking back, I struggled with liking guys for a long time, which sounds so backwards in the way that people think of sexual orientation transitions. I felt a strong connection and loyalty to th

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Why can't I stop being so scared of pregnancy?

lucyinthesky asks:

I have a problem, and I'm ready to crack with the stress of it. I've been on birth control (Yaz) for a year, to help with my acne, though I don't always take it at the same time every day. Sometimes I've missed pills or taken them over 12 hours late. That shouldn't really matter, though, because I'm not sexually active. My boyfriend and I have decided to wait until we get married to have sex. We only ever make out. Still, I find myself worrying about pregnancy risks even though there are no apparent ways to get pregnant from what we do. Some small part of my mind will whisper things like, "What if he has pre-ejaculate that seeps through his clothes onto you? What if he had a nocturnal emission that night he stayed over?" Nobody else I know seems to have this constant paranoia. I don't understand why I spend half my time worrying about a pregnancy that most people understand is impossible. I'm not sure what I'm asking here, other than, have you ever seen this before - a girl terrified of something happening when it isn't even likely? Is there any way I can help myself and get peace of mind? Thanks.

We did everything for it to go just right... but it didn't.

Hedo asks:

My girlfriend and I are both non-op transsexuals; (i.e., she's MtF, I'm FtM, and we haven't had "the surgery" and don't intend to.) On a visit with her a little while ago, she and I were sitting in her car and talking about our feelings regarding sex. When our relationship started over a year ago she asked me to wait, which I was fine with, but didn't know she had been open to what we considered "in between" kind of stuff like oral (she doesn't want to go "all the way" because she was raped a little while before I met her and she feels like penetrating me is putting me in her position--it isn't, but I'm not going to pressure her), and while we had been discussing it we realized we were both in the mood and I asked her if she wanted to find some place more private and explore, and she said "only if you want to." I did.

Before we got started, I asked her if she still wanted to continue and if she had any other boundaries she wanted to set in place, and she said no. I reminded her that if she wanted me to stop at any time she could say so and I would stop everything.

I'm her one and only...and I don't think that's a good thing.

somethingeasytoremember asks:

My friend wants to be in a relationship with me, but I am afraid to because I am her only means of support (that's not me being full of myself, she's actually said that) and if things were to turn sour I have two parents and countless friends and trusted adults whom I have no problems talking to, whereas she would have no one to talk to, me being her only confidant, and she can't very well talk to me about me, can she?

She's just so shy and not good with people and she and her parents are not exactly on good terms. I don't want to enter an unhealthy relationship! What should I do?

Building Bridges: Childhood Sexual Abuse

We hear a lot about generational divides. What we hear much less about are the bridges: how people of different generations can and do connect; how we can support and help one another and each offer the other things of great value. Just as often as a given experience, or even life as a whole, is different for people of one generation and those of another, there are also some things that are or have been the same, and all have our own wisdom to share, whatever our age may be.

People of different generations are not incapable of connecting or understanding each other, despite the way so much media can often make it sound that way, or the despite day-to-day frustrations and challenges we have probably all experienced with one another when trying to connect.

Often I am asked to explain things about one generation to another, illustrating differences as well as common ground to each. I often find myself telling people of one age group how to try and better understand the other; making app

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Did I have sex? Did I lose my virginity?

Roxanne asks:

I'm 14. My boyfriend rubbed his penis on my vulva and I rubbed my vagina on his penis, but we were both wearing our underwear. Am I still a virgin? Was it sex? I don't even know what it was... I don't want to lose my virginity at such a young age! I hope I didn't lose my virginity to him! Can someone please tell me?

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