Sexual Assault, Safety for Teens

Sexual assault is a crime of power and control. The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include:

  • Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
  • Attempted rape
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching (Source: www.RAINN.org)

Rape Facts

Did you know that almost half of women who are raped are under the age of 18? Teens and young women are in the highest risk group for sexual assault. Some knowledge and pre-planning can be your greatest defense, so read on.

  • 90% of girls who were raped knew the guy who raped them. He was either a boyfriend, a date, a  friend or an acquaintance.
  • We’ve heard a lot about date rape drugs, but alcohol is the most common. 75% of rape victims were drunk or on drugs when they were raped.
  • We think about rape happening in dark alleys or deserted places, but actually, most girls are raped in their own home or in the home of the attacker or a friend.
  • One out of six girls has been raped or were victims of attempted rape before they turned 25. Almost half of rape victims are under 18.
  • Rape is legally defined as any unwanted sexual contact. It can also include forced oral sex or unwanted touching.
  • Guys can be raped too. It’s figured that 5% of rape victims are males. In most cases, their attackers were also males.
  • Most rapes never get reported because girls feel ashamed, are afraid they won’t be believed or aren’t sure it was really rape. Guys don’t report because they are ashamed, do not want to be perceived as victims, or fear being seen as homosexual.

How to keep yourself safe from rape

  • Remember that it is your body and you get to be the one to decide whether you have sex or not. You never owe anyone for sex. It doesn’t matter if he bought you a nice dinner, if you’ve been going out for a long time, or if he says you led him on.
  • Pay attention to your gut feelings and don’t worry about causing a scene or upsetting someone. If something doesn’t feel right or someone is acting creepy, leave. If it’s a date or a boyfriend and he is pressuring you to have sex you don’t want, say no firmly and get home or get away, or call a friend for help.
  • If you drink alcohol, be careful and think beforehand about who you are drinking with. Being drunk or on drugs makes you less able to notice that someone is acting weird and you are less able to protect yourself if things get out of control
  • A guy is able to stop no matter how turned on he is. Don’t fall for that line.
  • Be aware of boys who don’t treat girls as equals, who emotionally abuse them or see them as sex objects. Trust your instincts.
  • Even though alcohol is the most common date rape drug, there are still other drugs to be aware of. These drugs are tasteless and odorless and can easily be slipped into drinks. Don’t accept drinks from guys you don’t know real well or trust and don’t leave your drink out of your eyesight. If you do lose track of your drink, get a fresh one.
  • Girls are often taught to be nice and not to hurt anyone’s feelings. It’s better to be a little impolite and err on the side of safety. Put your own safety above the feelings of others.

Healthy Relationships

It helps to understand what a healthy relationship is and what you can and should expect from your partner.

Romantic relationships should be wonderful and exciting. With the right person you can have a very close relationship in which you feel safe, cared for and encouraged to be the best you can be. If you can remember that you have the right to expect a healthy relationship, you might be more able to leave a relationship if it is becoming destructive or hurtful to you. If you are confused about your relationship you could talk with an adult you trust to help you see things more clearly and to help you come up with a plan.

Communication
You and your partner are able to talk about your problems without yelling. You might be emotional, angry, or hurt but you can still listen to each other, and try to understand the other’s point of view. Both of you are willing to compromise so that both people get what they need.

Respect
You are able to care about each other for who you are. You don’t try to change much about the other person and you respect and appreciate their values, likes, dislikes and opinions. When you are upset with each other, you can talk about it without calling names or blaming the other for the problem.

Trust
You are able to trust each other with who you are and with your feelings. The trust takes time to build, but neither makes the other constantly have to earn it after trust has developed.

Equality
You make decisions together. Both are willing to compromise, but no one is compromising way more than the other.

Personal Space
You enjoy spending time with your own friends and family and are able to spend time apart. Each is able to allow the other to have time to him or herself.

Make consensual sexual decisions
If your relationship becomes sexual, it is because both of you have decided you are ready. No one pressures the other to be sexual or pressures the other to do things they don’t want to do. You are able to talk about the possible consequences of sex such as STDs, pregnancy and the emotional impact that a sexual relationship will have on both of you. You are able to decide how to address those consequences.

Warning signs that you are in an unhealthy relationship:

  • He or she tries to make the relationship very serious right from the beginning.
  • He or she shows signs of extreme jealousy or possessiveness, and believes this is an expression of love.
  • He or she tries to make the decisions about who you are as a couple and what you do. Sometimes these decisions can seem like he or she is concerned about you.
  • He or she doesn’t show signs of being very interested in who you are as a person.

Dating Violence

Your teen years are a time that is rich with self discovery. You are learning about yourself; who you are, what you believe in, and what you want in your life. You are also learning about love and relationships. For many people, our first love relationship happens when we are teenagers, and it can shape our views about ourselves and about the opposite sex and relationships. There is a lot that can go right, but there is also a lot that can go wrong. Teens are the most vulnerable when it comes to abusive relationships. It’s believed that one in four teenagers have been the victim of some form of dating violence.

There are four types of dating violence to be aware of:

Psychological/Mental Abuse
Examples of this include being super jealous and suspicious of you when there is no reason. It might mean your partner checks up on you all the time and tries to keep you from spending time with your friends or family. He or she wants to make all the decisions about things you do without caring about how you feel.

Emotional/Verbal Abuse
Your partner calls you names, or makes fun of the way you look. He or she criticizes you a lot and doesn’t accept you for who you are. Your partner might make threats to hurt you or to leave
the relationship if you don’t do what he/she wants.

Physical Abuse
Physical abuse includes pushing, slapping, punching or grabbing. It can also include trying to prevent you from leaving the room or going someplace.

Sexual Abuse
Your partner might pressure you to have sex when you’re not ready, or pressure you to do sexual things you don’t want to do. Sexual abuse can also include grabbing your body when you don’t want them to, or even trying to or actually forcing you to have sex.

Internet and Phone Safety

Can you believe that when your parents were your age, they had to sit around the house to wait for a phone call? Teens now can hang out with their friends, go to the movies, spend time with families – all without ever having to miss a possible phone call. For many, depending how old they are, your parents had to wait days for the mailman if they wanted a letter. The Internet and cell phones have made staying connected to friends and family so much easier. Texts, cell calls, emails, instant messaging, and Facebook allow many more instant ways to communicate than we could ever have imagined way back then.

There are so many great things about cell phones and internet. There are also a lot of potential problems and dangers too. You can still reap all the benefits of the technology without the downside if you keep a few points in mind.

Cell phones

You can do so much with a cell phone…texting, calls, emails, and pictures. They are a great tool for instantly connecting with friends and parents. One good rule to remember is this: never send anything through text you would never want friends, parents, teachers and other kids at school to see or read. This means pictures or words, whether sexual in nature, secrets, or gossip. Whatever you send to anyone by cell phone can be shared with anyone else. Once you send it you lose control over who it goes to. Relationships shift a lot during the teen years and someone who is your best friend or boyfriend now may not be so close to you later. Sending naked pictures of yourself or anyone else could also lead to criminal charges.

If someone is sending you texts that are offensive or harassing, show an adult. Don’t respond to them in any way, and block their number on your phone. If you receive a naked photo of someone on your phone just delete it. Don’t forward it to anyone. If you pass in on you could also face criminal charges.

Internet

Facebook and other social websites are great places to keep up to date with your friends. The best thing to remember is to create your profile in a way that doesn’t show you in a bad way. Avoid using swear words, sexual language, sexy pictures, references to drugs or alcohol, and mean or violent language.  Try to think about whether you would want anyone five to ten years from now to see how you present yourself in your profile.

Don’t post information on your page that would make it easy for someone to find you. Don’t put your birthdate, school, or cell number on your profile. Consider using a nickname instead of your real name.

If you go into chat rooms, don’t reveal details about yourself. While most people will be who they say they are, there may be one who isn’t…don’t trust pictures either. It’s easy to post someone else’s photo.

Don’t ever respond to texts, emails or pop-up messages that ask for personal information and don’t click any links in those messages. Those links could have viruses attached that will ruin your computer.

Don’t ever participate in “cyber bullying”. This means posting mean things or rumors about another person in profiles, through text messages or an email.

Tipos De Abuso

La violencia doméstica es un ciclo de conducta violenta en una relación doméstica o entre dos personas que se están citando. El abuso puede ser físico, sexual, emocional, o una
combinación de algunos o todos de estos.

¿Qué debo saber?

Abuso físico es cualquier contacto intencional no deseado con el cuerpo de la víctima,
causado por el abusador (o abusadora) o usando algún objeto en su control. El abuso físico no
necesariamente debe dejar alguna marca o cicatriz. Ni siquiera tiene que doler.

  • Rasguños / Pellizcos
  • Manotadas
  • Mordiscos
  • Patadas
  • Aventando objetos
  • Jalones de pelo
  • Estrangulamiento
  • Empujones
  • Atentados con armas
  • Cachetadas
  • Apretones
  • Quemaduras

Abuso sexual es cualquier conducta sexual no deseada y que interfiere con el derecho que la victima tiene de decir “no” al acoso sexual.

  • Violación o forzar a la víctima a hacer cosas que no quiere
  • Besos y contacto no deseados
  • Actividades sexuales violentas no deseadas
  • No permitir que la víctima use protección contra el embarazo o contra las enfermedades transmitidas sexualmente

Abuso verbal o psicológico es cuando el abusador (o abusadora) controla las emociones o el comportamiento de la víctima. (Por ejemplo, esto se puede ver cuando el abusador le dice cosas o le hace cosas a la víctima que le causan miedo o afectan su autoestima).

  • Llamarle nombres ofensivos o raciales
  • Amenazarle con quitarle los niños
  • Decir insultos a la víctima o su familia
  • Avergonzar a la víctima delante de otras personas
  • Decirle que es lo que debe hacer
  • Hacerle sentirse culpable y causante de la violencia
  • Dañar o amenazar con hacerle daño a sus mascotas
  • Criticar constantemente
  • Usar comunidades en el Internet o teléfono celular para controlar, intimidar o humillar a la víctima
  • Gritarle a la víctima
  • Aislar de su familia y amistades
  • Amenazarle con violencia
  • Seguirla
  • Amenazar con suicidarse para manipular a la víctima
  • Amenazar con revelar secretos de la víctima

¿Qué puedo hacer?

Si tu relación o la relación de alguien que tú conoces parece ser así, tal vez sea una relación abusiva. Ofrecemos servicios en espanol.

 

Get Help

If you are in imminent danger, please call 9-1-1. If you or someone you know has reasonable belief that a child is being abused or neglected, please call the toll-free Child Abuse Hotline (for anywhere in Arizona): 1-888-767-2445, and call your local law enforcement agency to make a report. If you are looking for support, need help with safety planning, or want help to heal and recover from the trauma of domestic violence or sexual assault, please contact us at (928) 775-0669 and ask to speak to an advocate. You are not alone. We are here to help.