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surviving

From Emily, Who Really Gets It.

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 twic

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As a sexual abuse survivor, can I only connect to people sexually?

LOVE22 asks:

I was sexually abused, so I was wondering will I only want to find someone who I'm going to stay with for sex?

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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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 Pursuit of Hope

It was my personal mission to break the silence, not just for myself but for others who were not yet ready to speak. I wanted to share my story with whoever was willing to listen in hopes of making a difference in someone’s life. Look out world; I am on a mission to end sexual violence!

The Revolution Will Be Televised (and I'll find a way to be okay with that)

My plans for last weekend were pretty mellow: I was going to work on my taxes, do a little housecleaning, maybe get started on my garden now that the sun is back out, hang out with my sweetheart, finish some writing, practice piano and play some Scrabble. I was going to tend to myself, for the most part.

The weekend I would up having was quite a bit different.

Last Wednesday, I raced against the clock -- I had to go work at the clinic the next day -- to get everything up for our focus this month on sexual assault and abuse as part of Sexual Assault Awareness Month. That included getting together a page and other materials for the "I Was Raped" shirts which months back, I'd agreed to help Jennifer Baumgardner distribute as part of a project to increase rape awareness, both through these t-shirts and the conversation we'd hoped they'd start, as well as through her developing film of the same name, which will focus on first-person stories from survivors.

The New York Times first covered

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I Was Raped: Wear Your Voice Out

You can get an I Was Raped t-shirt seen on CNN through Scarleteen. Break your silence -- or help someone else with theirs -- just by getting dressed, help increase awareness of rape and support Scarleteen, all at the same time. Now in extended sizes for women and men.

Was my friend implying I brought my rape on myself?

Jessica asks:

I have been raped on several occasion throughout my youth. I am just now, as a 22-year-old woman dealing with these. My friend recently said to me, "Well since it happened to you once, then you are more susceptible to it happening again." It really offended me to hear this, and I wanted to know if it seems unfair to me to get upset. My whole thought process is, I already blame myself (and I know I shouldn't but what girl doesn't) why would you say something like that implying that I brought this on myself? Is that insensitive of me to feel that way?

I was raped a few years ago: how do I tell others and build trust again?

Leslie asks:

Hi, when I was about 16 (I am 21 now), I was sexually assaulted by two extended family members. Over the years it has caused me to loose trust for many males especially the ones I met after the incident and males of my race. The only people I seem to fully trust are my four brothers and parents. I have not told them about he incident and I am scared to do so because I don't know how I will or what their reaction might be. I am also facing a problem with dating. I am a little scared to date as I don't know how my partner my react to this incident or if I will treated nicely. Recently, I have been approached by two male friends who have interest in me and I am a little scared to even date them. I have built a trust for them. What should I do?

Dealing With Rape

If you have NOT gladly and freely consented to and participated in sexual activity -- if you have not in some way said a big yes and wanted to keep saying a big yes -- and someone else had sex with you anyway, that is rape. No matter what ANYONE tells you, it is not your fault. There certainly is fault, but it lies with the rapist, not the victim.

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.