Sexual Assault Prevention For Teens
Teenagers and young adults are a high risk group for rape and other type of sexual assault. Most teens who are raped are victimized by someone they know. While being raped or sexually assaulted it is NEVER the victim’s fault, there are things a person can do to help reduce the risk of becoming a victim.
- Keep a clear head. Drugs and alcohol can make you less aware of danger signs and less able to communicate clearly.
- Go to parties with friends you can trust and agree to look out for one another. Appoint a “designated sober person” who will regularly check on the members of your group.
- Create a plan ahead of time for how you and your friends can “rescue” someone if it looks like he or she needs help.
- Know that you have a right to say “no” to any unwanted sexual content. Trust your feelings; speak up if you are uncomfortable-don’t be afraid to “make a scene” if you feel threatened.
- Always make sure someone-a friend or family member-knows where you are going, and how long you plan to be there.
- Make sure you have phone numbers for trusted adults you can call if you are in trouble.
- Discourage your friends from engaging in sexual contact with anyone who seems intoxicated. Helping your friends make safe choices may help prevent an assault from taking place.
- Resist peer pressure to do things that make you uncomfortable, or that go against your values.
How To Help A Friend…If a friend is raped or sexually assaulted, there are many things you can do to help.
- Encourage your friend to get medical care, even if he assault happened a while ago and even if your friend does not seem physically injured.
- If your friend is willing to report the crime, encourage her or him to contact the police as soon as possible. Police officers can help victims get medical care and resolve concerns about their safety.
- ncourage your friend to talk with a counselor at a rape treatment center. If your friend is not ready to talk to a counselor “in person,’ encourage your friend to call a rape hotline. Even if the abuse happened a long time ago, counseling can still help.
Assist your friend in getting information about these options so she or he can make informed decisions. It is important to encourage your friend to make her or his own decisions and choices. This is one way for a sexual assault victim to regain a sense of personal power and control.
Where Do I Find Help? You can find a trained counselor by calling a hotline or a rape crisis center. Most rape crisis centers offer FREE counseling and services, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. You can even call anonymously (without giving your name).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ):
How will my parents react? It’s common for teens to worry about telling their parents about the assault. They may feel embarrassed or ashamed, and afraid of disappointing their parents. They may be worried about getting into trouble, being blamed, or creating more trouble for their family. Maybe the assault occurred when they were doing something they weren’t supposed to be doing. No one can predict exactly how your parents will react, but a rape counselor can help you work through your concerns about telling, and help figure out how to tell your parents if you decide you want to.
If I tell an adult that I have been raped, will they call the police? If you are under 18 years of age and you tell a doctor, nurse, school counselor, teacher, or other professional that you have been raped or sexually assaulted, that person is generally required by law to notify the police or child protective services agency in your community.
What if I don’t want the police to know? If you don’t want the police to know, or if you aren’t sure about what will happen if the crime is reported, you can call your local hotline/rape crisis center and talk with a counselor about your concerns anonymously. The counselor should be able to explain what will happen if the police are contacted and help you think through your decision. Counselors and advocates can also arrange to be with you when you talk with the police.
Will I get arrested if I’ve been doing something illegal? Many times, teens are afraid to report the assault because they were using alcohol or drugs, ditching school, out after curfew, or involving in some other illegal activity. However, if a victim reports a sexual assault to the police, they WILL NOT arrest the victim for using drugs or alcohol, being truant, or breaking curfew. The police respond to the crime being reported and work the ensure the victim is safe.
We want you to know that regardless of what you may have been doing prior to the assault, RAPE IS NEVER THE VICTIM’S FAULT and that SUPPORT IS ALWAYS AVAILABLE.
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