Abuse And Assault
I never thought it would happen to me, and when it did I was determined to try and fix it. But it wasn't something I could fix.
It's common for teens to have a mentality of "that won't happen to me". Well, what if it does? How does one cope when their trust and belief system is shattered by sexual assault?
A basic lowdown on interpersonal abuse and assault: what all the terms mean, why strangers are the least of our worries, what a cycle of abuse looks like, how you can start seeing abuse for what it is, where it is, and how to protect yourself and others and make abuse stop.
Rape is often framed as about women, but it's not. Something done TO us really isn't about us. It's the things that we choose to do which are about us, which is why it's such an error for rape to be framed as a women's issue or about women: it's almost always a men's issue and really about men. Find out what men need to know about rape and rapists, what you can do to be sure you have consent with sex, other ways to help with rape prevention, and why your help is so important.
How do you feel about and process a date rape and unpleasant sex after it happens? How do you deal with collective ideas about "grey" rape and the value of virginity when it's actual, not just abstract concepts? How will you talk to a new partner about those experiences? A corageous Scarleteen reader tries to work out very raw and painfully honest feelings on the page.
Sometimes we have no idea how things will affect us, no idea about the million ways in which one event can influence our lives. When I ran out of the driveway that day, across the street and to our house, I had no idea that the hard part was still to come. One volunteer's story of her history with sexual abuse, and her journey to healing.
The next morning I got up early and we started talking again. It was too early for me to be awake and I was battling severe cramps, among other things, so I fell back asleep. This is where my so-called friend and ex boyfriend decided he was going to explore the female body: mine. Looking back at this, I can only feel anger: at him for being so "curious", and at myself for letting it happen. I have heard so many "It's not your fault's," that I am honestly ready to puke. It's ironic I guess. I can see how the victim is not at fault in other sexual assault/abuse situations, but I still refuse to see it in my own.
Saying no to sex when you want to is a given. But what if you CAN'T say no? What if, the next day, you don't even remember being asked, or how you got to where you are, or who you were with? Worse still, what if you DON'T wake up at all? Find out about date rape drugs and what you can do to protect yourself and your friends.
We get a lot of questions from teens who are wondering if they can prevent pregnancy after intercourse, whether the concern is due to a broken condom or from not using any method of contraception in the first place. Regardless of how it happened, there is something that can reduce the risk of pregnancy if used within 120 hours (or with an IUD, eight days) of your risk. That something is Emergency Contraception.
We talk a lot about sexual safety and safer sex here at Scarleteen in terms of your physical health. But what about checking in to see if sex is safe for you and yours emotionally? Taking care of your emotions, looking out for risk factors in advance -- not just when they become an existing crisis -- and safeguarding yourself, your partners and those around you from needless hurt and harm is just as important as doing what you can to prevent STIs and unwanted pregnancies.
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.
Never believe: "I love you, it will never happen again." It will happen again. The tears don't matter, the bruises don't matter, the broken bones and ER visits and warnings from friends and relatives don't matter. Those scars that we bury deep inside us, the mental and emotional scars that we try to pretend don't exist -- they don't matter. It will happen, again and again and again, unless someone puts a stop to it.