WHAT IS SEXUAL ABUSE?
Sexual abuse is unwanted and uninvited sexual touching. That includes someone touching your breasts, vagina, penis or anus without your permission. Being forced to touch someone else in a sexual way is also sexual abuse. Sexual abuse is usually done by someone who used to seem trustworthy, is older, or who has some kind of authority or power over the person they abuse. Sexual abuse can also occur without touching. Forcing someone to look at a naked person or pictures of naked people or focing them to watch sexual acts is also abuse. Sexual abuse is never your fault.
MYTHS AND FACTS ABOUT SEXUAL ABUSE
MYTH: Only strangers sexually abuse children or youth.
FACT: Strangers do sexually abuse children and youth, but most abuse is committed by someone the victim knows and trusts. The abuser could be a parent, step-parent, relative, friend, babysitter, teacher or coach.
MYTH: Only girls are sexually abused.
FACT: Sexual abuse happens to both boys and girls.
MYTH: Only old men sexually abuse.
FACT: Both males and females abuse. Sexually abuse behaviour can start at a young age and continue into adulthood.
MYTH: Sexual abusers abuse for sexual pleasure.
FACT: Most abuse is about power and sex.
MYTH: If you have been sexually abused you have somehow encouraged or allowed it to happen by the way you have acted, dressed or communicated.
FACT: Sexual abuse is never your fault
MYTH: If I have been the victim of sexual abuse, I will grow up to be an abuser.
FACT: If you have been sexually abused it does not mean you will become an abuser.
TELLING ABOUT THE ABUSE
If you have been the victim of sexual abuse, there is help. Don't be afraid of getting in trouble. The first step in getting help is to tell someone you trust - a parent, a teacher, a guidance counsellor or friend. If you feel uncomfortable talking about it, try writing a letter. If you don't feel comfortable speaking to someone you know first, you can always contact York Regional Police at 1-866-876-5423. If you are in imminent danger of being abused, call 9-1-1. You can also walk in to any police department location at any time to report the abuse. You will be connected with an investigator from our Crimes Against Children Unit. Our investigators are experienced and understanding and are there to help you.
During your abuse and afterwards, you will feel a lot of emotions. You may, or may not, feel some or all of the feelings below.
It is normal to feel scared, ashamed, confused, upset or angry. The important thing is that you know the abuse is not your fault. There is help and there is hope. Take the first step by telling someone you trust. Keep telling until the abuse stops. Don't give up.
SEXUAL ABUSE AND THE INTERNET
The Internet makes it easier than ever for abusers to find and contact potential victims. Here are some tips to help you protect yourself online.
- Don't talk to anyone online that you don't know in person. Verify everyone's identity before you add them as a friend on Facebook or IM chat. Just because someone says they are a 16-year-old girl, doesn't mean they are
- Don't ever post your real name, phone number, address, school name or any other personal information online
- Never meet anyone in person that you have met online
- If you get suspicious emails, links, pictures or movies from someone you don't know and trust, click delete
- Avoid chat rooms and discussion areas that have not been approved for use by your parent or guardian
Click here to watch the BE NET AWARE VIDEO and learn how to be safe on the computer.