By Katie Hafner
WARNING: This article is about sexual assault. Anyone who is not comfortable with that topic should click off now. If you or a loved one have been or are currently a victim of sexual abuse, click on one of the bottom hotline links. Their job is to listen to you, and they will know how to help.
Sexual abuse is a very real epidemic all around the world. Some people may not even realize what they are going through is abuse, which is why high schoolers need to educated about the various forms of sexual assault.
66% of all victims under 18 are from ages 12 to 17 - middle school and high school students. Because of this, it is important for teens and pre-teens to be appropriately educated about the dangers they face.
Every nine minutes, a child is a victim of sexual abuse. In fact, eight percent of all sexual assault takes place on school property. Just one instance can have an enormous impact on a kid’s life, and it will get significantly worse if the abuse continues.
Survivors can suffer PTSD or depressive episodes for years after the abuse begins. Worst case, they might even deal with it for the rest of their life or struggle with drug addiction. When a child is abused, their parent(s) are most often the abusers, making it difficult for the child to find a safe and comfortable way to get help.
A great deal of young people have suffered or are currently suffering from sexual abuse, which is why rape and abuse jokes are not an appropriate kind of humor. In fact, making these kind of jokes can either “normalize” the behavior or make a survivor feel like they are reliving their trauma.
A common misconception about sexual assault is that women are the only victims. One in every 10 rape victims are male, and about one in 33 men have been a victim of rape or attempted rape. Boys and men are raped, and the idea that they are not makes it even harder for them to find acceptance or aid.
For sexual assault victims, it can take a while for them to process everything that is happening to them. Nevertheless, they have the right to share their story whenever they feel ready, and no one has the right to rush or judge them.
Waiting for long periods of time, however, could make it harder for you to get justice.
If you see someone being harassed or treated in a poor manner, step in. Try to lead them away from a bad, or even potentially deadly, situation.
As for you, use good judgement, do not walk alone at night, and if someone creepy is following you, pretend you are on the phone.
Whether or not people like to admit it, sexual assault can be life-wrecking, and it should be taken seriously. Learning about the issue in school makes it easier for high school and middle school students alike to know if a form of abuse has or is taking place.
To anyone who is or has been sexually assaulted, you are not alone. No matter how lost, confused or angry you feel, there is always hope. Do not let anyone tell you that your feelings or experiences are invalid. Measures can be taken and justice can be served.
You will get through this.
If you are currently are or have been sexually abused, click the Sexual Abuse Hotline.
Call 1.800.799.SAFE (7233) for the Domestic Violence Hotline.
If you are considering self harm of ANY KIND, click here to chat with a member of the
Suicide Hotline, or call 1.800.273.8255 .