Abuse has been, is or will be a part of life for more people than not. What is it, and what different kinds of abuse are there? How do you tell the difference between someone or a relationship just being crummy and abuse? How do you protect yourself or get away from abuse? How can you heal? How do you make sure that you aren’t abusive? This section answers these kinds of questions and concerns.

image of a pressed flower

Highlighted content

  • Heather Corinna

Hey there, lost. I'm so sorry that you had to experience that abuse, but I'm very glad you survived it, and have started to be able to look towards healthy, wanted intimacy in your future. Let's see if I can help get you started. First, I want to alleviate a fear that could get in your way. You don...

  • Sam Wall

I wish I could find out who is spreading the idea that thinking about sex often, masturbating fruequently, or using sexual media indicates someone is on a path towards "sex addiction." You're far from the first person to ask about it in our direct services. I'd like to have some harsh words with...

  • Josie Gleave

What can sexual grooming look like in online spaces, and how can you protect yourself and your friends from it?

  • E. M.

The term itself is insufficient and sounds oddly trivial. The word ‘stealth’ has various associations in the Oxford English Dictionary (2020), including ‘secretly and without right or permission’, ‘clandestinely’, ‘furtive’. A stealth action happens quickly and slyly, like the swiping of an appetising sweet by a small child before their parent sees. But stealthing does not just happen surreptitiously, swiftly, or without the total awareness of the victim.

  • Christina Elia

When my assault happened, I was stunted in my sexual exploration, and I had no choice but to start anew. I’ve learned it will always be an ongoing battle for me, but a possible feat. Scarleteen readers confronting a comparable situation should know there’s hope for you too. Reclaiming our right to pleasure combats apathy by demonstrating our capacity to enjoy again. While we can’t reverse rape, recovery begins when we remember we have alternatives.

  • Jocelyn Anderson

I know that isn’t news to anyone, but I think we forget that sometimes when trying to help our friends or family members who are going through it. We expect them to act “rationally,” like we would, or like we want them to. But sexual assault is traumatic, and making decisions during and after trauma is complicated. Decisions about who to talk to - the police, a healthcare provider, a friend, a teacher - can feel incredibly complicated. Are they going to believe me? Are they going to listen to me? Are they going to call the police even though I don’t want that? What is going to happen next?

  • Robyn Swirling

What is sexual harassment likely to look like in your life, or the lives of your friends? And what can you actually do about it, whether you’re the target of it, trying to avoid harming people yourself, or you’re the friend of someone who’s being harassed at work?

  • Gabrielle Echevarrieta

Some forms of abuse, like physical abuse or some kinds of sexual assault, are more easily identified by victims or witnesses. Conversely, gaslighting is a type of non-event, a toxic presence that chips away at a person’s wellbeing over time. Gaslighting is a powerful abuse tactic, although a lesser known one. It is notoriously difficult to understand and recognize, especially for a victim.

  • Siân Jones

Reclaiming your sexuality after sexual abuse can be complicated. Your previous partner has left you with a whole mess of shame and trauma. None of this is your fault, he is the one who chose to hurt and manipulate you, I’m sorry that you had to go through that and are now facing the work of picking...

  • Raechel Anne Jolie

Ready to take #MeToo to the next level?