Sexual abuse is when an adult or another child who is significantly older uses a child for sexual acts. It can be for pleasure or to show power over a child. Sexual abuse usually involves touching, but there are also kinds that don’t involve any contact. You might not know exactly what sexual abuse is, even if you have experienced it. It’s important to pay attention to how a situation makes you feel. Something is probably wrong if you feel uncomfortable, afraid, or upset. No one has the right to make you feel that way, and no one has the right to make you do anything sexually.
Most of the time, kids are sexually abused by someone they know: parents or step-parents, grandparents, brothers or sisters, other family members, coaches, etc. This can be very confusing when someone you know and maybe even love and trust takes advantage of you. You can call 1-855-201-2121 at any time, and we are always here to talk. Abusers always make excuses for their inexcusable behavior. They might have even blamed you even though it’s never your fault. Here are some bad excuses abusers might give you:
Abusers might tell you that really scary things will happen if you tell, but it’s still important to tell an adult you trust what is happening to you because abuse is never ok. If you are feeling afraid and confused or don’t know who to tell, you can always call Child Help National Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) or call 121help.me at 1-855-201-2121.
Lots of kids who have been sexually abused believe it is their fault…that they could have done something to prevent it. The reality is that it is NEVER your fault. Often, abusers will say things to make it sound like you “asked for it,” or that “you want it.” Those are just cruel things that they might say so that you will keep quiet about the abuse. There is nothing to be ashamed of and the best thing you can do is break that secret and talk with someone.
First off, remember that it isn’t your fault. No matter who abused you or what they might have told you, you didn’t cause the abuse. The way to feel better is by getting the abuse to stop, getting help and talking to an adult you trust. Getting help is the first step to take whether you were abused in the past or are being abused now. You can always call 1-855-201-2121 to talk at anytime. We are available 24/7 and your call is confidential.
Maybe you’re being sexually abused right now, and you’re not ready to talk about it. As you get ready to find someone to tell, you can make a safety plan and protect yourself:
If you’re not sure exactly what to do to stay safe, call a counselor at 1-855-201-2121. We can help you come up with a plan.
Here are some good options:
Here are some bad options:
• Bargain with or threaten your abuser. • Tell them you are calling the police or plan to “turn them in.” If you are ready to call the police or the child abuse hotline in your state, just do it. It’s important that you don’t tell your abuser before hand.
You need to know that adults other than your parents, are “mandated reporters” who are legally bound to call or report the police or the state child protection center. This may result in an investigation into your abuse. Investigations include talking with you, the person who made the report, your parents and the abuser.
The result of the investigation depends on lots of factors, some of them out of your control. It is important that you have support during the investigation and depending on your family situation, you may need to find other people to get support from. While friends are important, it is best to find an adult who will stand by you be an advocate for you (on you side) during the investigation and afterwards.
It is hard when someone you trust hurts you. It is even harder when that person is in your family. Being abused by a family member can really confuse you, especially if you still love the person that is hurting you. Sexual abuse is always wrong, even if the abuser is in your family. You need to find the courage to tell an adult you trust. If you don’t know whom to talk to, call a counselor at 1-855-201-2121.
Maybe you’re being sexually abused right now, and you’re not ready to talk about it. As you get ready to find someone to tell, you can still do things to protect yourself:
If you’re not sure exactly what to do to stay safe, call to have an anonymous conversation with a counselor 1-855-201-2121. We can help you come up with a plan.
Some kids who have been abused start to get thoughts about sexually abusing someone themselves. This can be really scary! If you were abused yourself, these feelings are there because you did not have control over your situation. You need to talk with someone about those thoughts and feelings right away. The counselors at 121help.me have heard it all and will help you cope with your thoughts.
Your friend is going through a lot. Sexual abuse causes a lot of emotions, from anger to confusion to sadness. Your friend could start to get down on himself or herself. They might turn to self-injuring, alcohol, or drugs to try to cope with the hard things they are facing.
A good place to start is telling your friend that you want to see him or her be safe. They might not be ready to talk in detail about their abuse, but it will help them to know that you care.
Don’t push them, but if they do want to talk, let them tell their story. Give them encouragement with things like, “I know you’re going through a lot right now.” And if they want to cry, let them cry with you. Offer to go with them to talk to an adult that you think can help. They might feel alone and hurt, so your support is very important.
Talk with your friend about telling an adult about his or her abuse. Offer to go with them if it helps. If your friend does not want to tell an adult, think about going to your school counselor, nurse or a teacher that you trust. Your parents may also be able to help you decide how to help your friend. You need to let someone know how worried you are. If you talk to an adult, you might let your friend know that you have done this or are going to do it so they will understand what is happening when the police or state social workers come to talk with them. What ever you decide to do, do not tell their abuser anything. If you’re not sure who to talk to or what to do, you can call Child Help National Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) or contact us at 1-855-201-2121 anytime.
Child Help, Inc.
The National Center for Victims of Crime Teen Project
Bursting the Bubble
Girls Educational and Mentoring Services