Teen Sexual Assault

Any teen can be a victim of sexual assault no matter his or her gender identity or sexual orientation: female or male, gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, questioning or queer (LGBTQ), or straight. Usually the perpetrator is someone the teen knows and trusts, such as a boyfriend or girlfriend, a friend or acquaintance. The perpetrator could be your teen’s age or an adult they trust. But sometimes a stranger has perpetrated the sexual assault.

Sexual assault is defined as any unwanted sexual activity. Even if you've had consensual sex with your partner before; consent is needed each and every time. Sexual assault against a teen happens when consent (making an active choice to agree to a sexual encounter) is not given, taken away, or you are coerced (feeling pressured or emotionally forced to do something sexual). Consent is enthusiastic and willing. Consent can be withdrawn at any time during the sexual encounter. You have the right to change your mind or to consent to one thing, but not another.

Coercian or manipulation is the most common form of sexual assault among teens. It is hard to continue to say no when being pressured. This is especially difficult if there is a mutual attraction or an age difference. Some abusers use this tactic because they know if they pursue enough, eventually the person will give in. Often when this type of sexual assault occurs, the victim doesn't realize it is sexual assault. They may feel that because there was not physical force; it was not an assault. Sexual assault can happened even if  you  didn’t resist; previously gave consent then said “no” or “stop”; previously/currently in a relationship with the offender;  don’t remember the assault; was asleep or unconscious when it happened; if your and/or the offender was drinking; or wanted to say “no” but didn’t. Bottom line is if enthusiastic, willing consent was not given; it's sexual assault.

How to get help if you've been sexually assaulted? First know it was not your fault. If comfortable talk to a safe, trusted adult who can help you find someone to talk to. Know your rights. Get medical attention. Call a sexual assault services advocate to help you navigate talking to a safe person, court, or medical systems. You are not alone.

If you or someone you know needs help call Passages 24/7 free, confidential hotline at 800-236-4325.

Also check out these other resources:

Love is Respect www.loveisrespect.org 

Teens Health www.kidshealth.org

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