In your family
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 'Never be ashamed if you have been sexually assaulted. You are still the same person you were before it happened ... you definitely will get over it, you just might not forget it, but that's okay. Just every time you remember it, think about how great you are going to make your life.' *  

What is sexual abuse?

 No-one in your family has the right to touch you in ways that make you feel uncomfortable. No-one has the right to trick you, confuse you, or force you into doing sexual things. This is called sexual abuse.

Sexual abuse includes someone touching your private parts (e.g. breasts, vagina, penis, anus) or making you touch theirs. It can also include rape (e.g. putting a penis or another part of their body into your vagina, anus or mouth), or other things that make you feel uncomfortable (e.g. making sexual comments about you or 'perving' at you in a sexual way, making you watch them masturbate, rubbing their body against you in a sexual way, trying to tongue kiss you, or making you look at sexual pictures or videos).

Most sexual abusers are male, and a few are female. It is not true that sexual abuse happens because 'a man cannot control his sexual urges'. The abuser knows that they are doing, and they make a choice to abuse their position of trust and power.

If any of these things have happened to you, it can make you feel really horrible.

The first thing to remember is that it isn't your fault, no matter what. The abuser is always responsible for the abuse. It's very hard to know what to do when someone hurts you like this. It doesn't make you a bad person, and you don't deserve to be treated in this way. Unfortunately, many children and young people experience sexual abuse. It's against the law for anyone to treat you like this.

Sexual abuse can be very confusing. The person doing the abuse might be someone you trust. By treating you like this, they've betrayed your trust in them, and this is very wrong.

Also, often the person who does it to you will tell you things like:
  • 'it's normal'
  • 'don't tell anyone'
  • 'it's our secret'.

This can make you feel frightened to tell anyone. But there are things you can do, and people you can talk to. You don't have to deal with this alone.

 * (This quote is from Krystal, from A Guide for Young Women about Sexual Assault,
Northern Centre Against Sexual Assault, 2002)
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