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Sexual Abuse Can Happen to Anyone
Sexual Abuse Can Happen to Anyone
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Sexual Abuse Can Happen to Anyone

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 assault. The age at which someone can consent to sex varies from state to state, but no one who is under 16 can legally consent to sex in any state.

Sexual assault includes forcing or pressuring a person to have sexual intercourse (rape), 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.

It is important to remember that sexual assault is 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 or if they had been using drugs or alcohol does not make sexual assault the fault of the person who is assaulted. Sexual assault, regardless of the situation, is never okay. Sometimes a person may feel like sexual assault is their fault because the touching felt good, but sexual assault is never the young person’s fault.

If you or someone you know was touched in a way that was not okay or if you were forced to touch someone else in a way that makes 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 neighbour. If the first person you tell doesn’t do anything, tell someone else you trust. Keep telling adults you trust 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. 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.

Educators

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 all children understand that no one should touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable. Children should know that if someone does touch them in a way that makes them uncomfortable or shows them something that makes them comfortable, they should tell a parent or adult they trust right away.

Child sexual abuse, which is a form of sexual assault, is an issue we do not want children to face, but we know 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 children from sexual abuse.