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Sexual Assault/Abuse

Statistics tell us that 1 out of 3 girls and 1 out of 5 boys will be sexually abused/assaulted by the time they are 18. It is important to empower adolescents with sensible safety rules which make them less vulnerable to victimization.

Adolescents are less vulnerable to sexual exploitation when they know the safety rules and can turn to caring adults for help. Safety rules are especially important with increased independence and ac- tivity away from family which can make them more vulnerable to victimization.

Safety Rules that Work:

!

Check First- always tell an adult where you’re going.

!

The buddy system takes on even more meaning as adoles- cents realize that it is safer and more fun to be with someone

else. Friends get the help

help that

friends by listening and encouraging them to

they

need.

They

can

be

strong

together

against someone who wants seem right or is dangerous.

them

to

do

something

that

doesn’t

No-Go-Tell still applies when an adolescent finds themselves in an uncomfortable or dangerous situation. When gut instinct, or whatever, says that things aren’t right - saying no, getting away and talking to a trusted adult is the best solution to avoid trouble. What to do if an adolescent is sexually assaulted or abused: !

!

!

! ! !

!

!

Remember that if a parent overreacts or becomes angry, the adolescent may feel guilty or blamed. Listen to what the adolescent has to tell you without “interviewing”, delving for information or passing judgment. Tell them that the assault/abuse is not his/her fault. Seek medical care immediately. Call law enforcement to report the offender so that the adoles- cent is protected and others aren’t hurt by the perpetrator. If the adolescent is abused by a parent, guardian or caretaker, the abuse needs to be reported to Child Protective Services. The adolescent would most likely be helped by talking to a counselor or victim’s advocate, but let him/her be a part of the decision-making to seek counseling.

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