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Dealing With Past Sexual Abuse
Dealing With Past Sexual Abuse
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Dealing With Past Sexual Abuse

This video discusses experiences of past sexual abuse. It explains what abuse is, and how it is never the fault of the person who experienced the abuse. It shows the importance of telling a trusted adult when you, or someone you know, has experienced abuse, harassment, or any behaviors that make you feel uncomfortable. Sexual assault, abuse, and harassment can happen to people of all genders and sexual orientations. This video includes conversations about the importance of reporting abuse and getting professional support. It is important to know that If the first adult you tell doesn’t believe you or doesn’t do anything to help protect you, keep telling other trusted adults until you get help.

Here at AMAZE, we hear, we see you, and we are here to help you!
For more info, RAINN provides several important tools:

● National Sexual Assault Hotline (available 24/7): 800-656-HOPE (4673)
● National Sexual Assault Online Hotline (live chat)
● Visit RAINN.org for additional resources tailored for several groups, including Asian, Native Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander survivors; Black survivors; Indigenous survivors; Latinx survivors; LGBTQ survivors; immigrant survivors; male survivors; survivors with disabilities, and more.

Youth

Any kind of sexual behaviors or touching another person’s breasts, genitals or buttocks without that person’s permission (also known as consent) is sexual abuse, sometimes called sexual assault. Sexual abuse and assault include forcing or pressuring a person to have sexual intercourse (oral, anal, or vaginal), having sexual intercourse or engaging in other sexual behaviors with a parent, child, sibling, grandchild or other close family member (incest) or any sexual behavior between an adult and a young person who is too young to agree to this behavior (child molestation or sexual abuse). Sexual assault can happen to anyone, and it is illegal. Sexual assault is a lot more common than we think, and it’s never okay, even if the person committing the assault is someone a person knows or a relative. Sexual assault, abuse, and harassment can happen to people of all genders and sexual orientations.

Sexual harassment is a type of bullying intended to hurt or intimidate someone. It can include verbal harassment, such as sexual jokes or sexual comments, as well as physical harassment in the form of sexual gestures, touching in a sexual way or sexual actions toward or about another person. Sexual harassment can also include asking someone to share sexual pictures, sending someone unwanted sexual pictures or starting sexual rumors about someone (in person, via text, online or in writing in a public place, like a bathroom stall).

Sexual assault and harassment, regardless of the situation, are never okay. Sometimes a person may feel like sexual assault is their fault because the touching or feelings felt good, but sexual assault is never the young person’s fault.

It is important to remember that sexual assault and sexual harassment are never the fault of the person being assaulted or abused, even if the person doing the assaulting or touching says it’s the young person’s fault. What a person was wearing, if they have had sex before (with the other people or this person) or if they had been using drugs or alcohol does not make sexual assault the fault of the person who is assaulted.

If you or someone you know was touched in a way that was not okay, if you were forced to touch someone else in a way that makes you uncomfortable, or if someone made comments or gestures that made you uncomfortable, don’t keep it a secret. Even if the person who did this is an adult or an older kid who told you not to tell anyone, you should tell someone. Tell someone you trust—like a parent, family member, teacher, friend’s parent or neighbor, school counselor or social worker. If the first person you tell doesn’t do anything, tell someone else you trust. Keep telling adults you trust until you get help.

FAQs

Someone touched me, talked to me in a sexual way, and/or showed me pictures/videos/ social media, without my consent, and I don't know what to do about it.

It’s not right that this happened to you, and it is not your fault. No one should show a young person sexual videos or pictures, touch you or talk to you in a sexual way. It can make a person feel uncomfortable and is against the law. Don’t keep this a secret. Find someone you trust, like a parent, family member, teacher, coach, a friend’s parent or neighbor, and tell them what happened. There are people out there who can help. By law, most adult professionals (like teachers, coaches and doctors) are required to report this information to the police, so they can help to protect you. You may be worried about getting the person in trouble but remember that you have done nothing wrong and deserve to be safe. The best way to prevent this from happening again to you or to someone else is to talk to a trusted adult. You could talk face to face or on the phone. You could also send a text, email or letter. You could even make a drawing, if that’s easier. The important thing is to tell someone. If the first adult you tell doesn’t believe you or doesn’t do anything to help protect you, keep telling other trusted adults until you get help.

Parents

Sexual assault is any sexual behavior that happens without a person’s consent and includes rape, incest and child sexual abuse. Children may hear about sexual assault in the media. It is important that parents tell their children (regardless of their gender) that some people touch other people without their permission, and that is not okay. Sexual assault, abuse, and harassment can happen to people of all genders and sexual orientations. Having these conversations with children gives you an opportunity to explain that it is not okay for anyone to touch their genitals, breasts or buttocks, and if anyone does touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable or shows them something that makes them uncomfortable, they should tell you right away.

Child sexual abuse, which is a form of sexual assault, is an issue we want none of our children to face, but we know that it is a reality. Child sexual abuse is sexual touching or behaviors with a minor, including oral, anal or penile-vaginal sex; exposing a young person to sexually explicit materials; or forcing a young person to touch someone else’s genitals. It often continues until the person who is being abused gets help. Sometimes, someone else—a friend or family member—recognizes the abuse and jumps in to help.

About 90 percent of children who are victims of abuse know their abusers. Only 10 percent of sexually abused children are abused by a stranger. This often makes it even scarier for a child to report the crime, which they know will get a family member or someone they know in trouble. Young people need to know that they are never at fault when they are sexually assaulted and that they should report the crime to a trusted adult as soon as possible, even if it involves someone they know.
The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network has helpful information on protecting your child from sexual abuse.

Conversation Starters

Start essential conversations with your children about boundaries, how others should and should not touch them and how they should or should not touch others. These conversations lay the foundation so your children know they can come to you with questions or if someone crosses a boundary with them. The easiest way to start these conversations is to talk about issues as they come up in everyday life, like while watching TV together.

Bring up the topic of sexual assault and abuse while watching or listening to the news.

When news stories about sexual assault or abuse comes on, ask your child if they have heard about this topic before and how it made them feel. You can then reinforce with your child that no one should touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable, and they should not touch other people in a way that would make them uncomfortable. Remind your child that they can come to you if they have questions about this or if something happens that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Bring up the topic of sexual assault and abuse while watching shows or movies.

If you are watching a show or movie that portrays sexual assault or abuse, you can use this as an opportunity to ask your child if they think that may be asexual assault or abuse. You could also ask what someone should do if they think they have been sexually assaulted or abused. Remind your child that they can come to you if they have questions about this or if something happens that makes them feel uncomfortable.

Ask your child if you can hug or kiss them.

When you want to hug or kiss your child, getting your child’s permission first is a great way to demonstrate consent. If this is not something you have done in the past, you can explain why you are asking for their consent and begin the discussion about why it is important to gain consent—especially in sexual situations.

Educators

Sexual assault, abuse, and harassment can happen to people of all genders and sexual orientations. As young people’s bodies start to mature, they may experience sexual harassment. Sexual harassment is a form of bullying that is meant to hurt or intimidate a person, and it can take many shapes. It can include sexual jokes, sexual comments, sexual gestures, touching in a sexual way or sexual actions toward or about another person. Sexual harassment can also include asking someone to share sexual pictures, sending someone unwanted sexual pictures, exposing someone to pornography or starting sexual rumors about someone (in person, via text, online or in writing in a public place, like a bathroom stall).

It is important that educators be aware of their school or districts bullying and/or sexual harassment policy. If a school or district has such a policy, educators and administrators can ensure there are procedures in place to make students aware of this policy. It is important that students understand that it is not okay for anyone to verbally or physically harass another person, including sexually touching another person who doesn’t want to be touched, making sexual comments about another person, asking someone to send sexual photos or starting sexual rumors about another person. Students should also know what the consequences are for participating in this type of behavior.

Sexual harassment is something students should never face, but we know that it is a reality. It is important that young people know they are never at fault if they are sexually harassed. Students should know the procedure for reporting sexual harassment or at the very least who they should speak to if they are sexually harassed at school.

About 90 percent of children who are victims of abuse know their abusers. Only 10 percent of sexually abused children are abused by a stranger. This often makes it even scarier for a child to report the crime, which they know will get a family member or someone they know in trouble. Young people need to know that they are never at fault when they are sexually assaulted and that they should report the crime to a trusted adult as soon as possible, even if it involves someone they know. The Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network has helpful information on protecting children from sexual abuse.

Discussion Questions

After watching the video with your class, process it using the following discussion questions:
  • What are some examples of sexual harassment/abuse that were mentioned in the video?
  • Why is it important to understand what sexual harassment and abuse are?
  • Why is it important to never sexually harass/abuse someone?
  • If someone has been sexually harassed or abused, who are some of the people they could talk to?
  • If someone has been sexually harassed or abused, what are some resources you could direct them to?

National Sex Education Standards

IV.5.CC.1 - Child Sexual Abuse, Sexual Harassment, and Domestic Violence

Define child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and domestic violence and explain why they are harmful and their potential impacts

View all IV.5.CC.1 Videos

IV.5.IC.1 - Strategies a Person Could Use to Leave an Uncomfortable or Dangerous Situation

Identify strategies a person could use to call attention to or leave an uncomfortable or dangerous situation, including sexual harassment

View all IV.5.IC.1 Videos

IV.8.AI.1 - Community Resources and/or Other Sources of Support

Identify community resources and/or other sources of support, such as trusted adults, including parents and caregivers, that students can go to if they are or someone they know is being sexually harassed, abused, assaulted, exploited, or trafficked

View all IV.8.AI.1 Videos

IV.10.CC.3 - Why a Victim Is Never To Blame

Explain why a victim/survivor of interpersonal violence, including sexual violence, is never to blame for the actions of the perpetrator

View all IV.10.CC.3 Videos

International Technical Guidance on Sexuality Education

4.1, ages 9-12
4.1, ages 12-15
4.2, ages 12-15

Consent, Privacy and Bodily Integrity

View videos for 4.2 (ages 12-15)

4.3, ages 12-15

Safe Use of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs)

View videos for 4.3 (ages 12-15)

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