Category Archives: Abuse & Violence

Teen Dating Violence: Know the Signs



By Sara Kleine, 17, Contributor


February 13, 2018

Ruby, 17, of Takoma Park, MD thought she was in a healthy relationship with her boyfriend of almost two years. Then, she started to pick up on some bad signs. “He got mad when I hung out with my friends,” she says. “I tried to break up with him a few times, and he threatened to hurt himself if I did.”

Abuse in teen relationships is not often discussed, but it’s more common than many people think. The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that 9.6 percent of high school students who dated in 2014-2015 were physically abused by a partner, and 10.6 percent were sexually abused by a partner. Emotional (also known as psychological) abuse in teen dating relationships is even more common; some studies show it happening at numbers much higher than those for physical or sexual abuse. The CDC says that teens who experience dating violence—whether it be physical, sexual or psychological—are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety and engage in unhealthy behaviors such as drug abuse. There’s a lot at stake for teen victims of dating abuse, which is why we recognize Teen Dating Violence Awareness Month during the month of February and start important conversations about how to recognize dating violence and get help if you need it.

There are a lot of signs of psychological abuse, but they can be easy to miss. Safevoices.org, a website that supports victims of domestic violence of all kinds, lists jealousy, isolation, possessiveness and threats as some common signs of psychological abuse. Ruby’s boyfriend’s attempts to prevent her from hanging out with friends, along with his threats of self-harm, were warning signs of abuse.

Ruby stresses that it’s good to know these red flags. Communicating with your partner is key. If you suspect that you’re being abused, Ruby advises being honest. “Don’t be afraid to be like, ‘Hey that’s kind of abusive’…because maybe they don’t realize it. You should be open and communicative,” she says. The exception to this advice is if you are in a situation where you don’t feel safe and comfortable enough to confront your partner. In this case, talking to a doctor, school counselor or trusted family member is best. If you’re unsure if your partner’s behavior is abusive, asking close friends what they think can be helpful. They may have a different perspective on your relationship than you do.

After seeking advice from friends, Ruby decided to break up with her boyfriend. Soon after the breakup, he contacted her often and tried to make her feel guilty for leaving. Ruby says that this was hard for her, but she realized that ending her abusive relationship was the healthiest choice in the long run.

Ruby’s story shows how difficult it can be to recognize and then leave an abusive relationship. If you believe that you are in this situation, tell a trusted adult immediately.

You can also get help through these resources: BreaktheCycle.org, LoveIsRespect.org (1-866-331-8453), Safevoices.org and The National Domestic Violence Hotline at TheHotline.org (1-800-799-7233).



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Gymnasts Say #MeToo and Are Finally Heard



By Ashley Fowler, 18, Staff Writer


February 9, 2018

#MeToo, originally coined by activist Tarana Burke in 2006, has become a rallying call to discuss and prevent sexual assault in many fields, including athletics. Recently in the news were the trials of Larry Nassar, a doctor who worked for U.S.A. Gymnastics and Michigan State University for decades. Nassar pled guilty to federal charges of child pornography and state charges of criminal sexual conduct. In one of the trials regarding his extensive sexual abuse of female gymnasts, some of whom went on to the Olympics, Judge Rosemarie Aquilina gave the floor to over 150 victims to speak about their assault by Nassar.

This wasn’t the first time someone spoke up publicly against Nassar. The story first broke in 2016, when Rachael Denhollander, a former gymnast who is now a lawyer and coach, told The Indianapolis Star that Nassar had molested her. When Denhollander initially filed a police complaint, she was concerned she wouldn’t be listened to—and rightly so, as both she and other gymnasts who had spoken up about the issue previously were not believed or listened to.

It’s not new that people doubt sexual assault accusations. In this case, some of the doubt came from the fact that parents were sometimes present during Nassar’s exams, and given his esteemed reputation as one of the best gymnastic doctors, Nassar was trusted. He made his young patients think he was on their side, and families thought they were lucky to get to see him. One woman recalls that when she tried to discuss her assault, she was told it was a medical procedure and not abuse. The fact that victims are so often questioned or not believed is a main reason why they may not come forward.

What should we take from this story? First, as Judge Aquilina did, we should acknowledge the tremendous courage it takes to come forward after enduring sexual assault. We should listen when people come forward rather than being dismissive of them. Further, one of the great things about the #MeToo movement is that it has showcased the power of people when they come together. One can only hope that survivors of sexual assault will feel less alone and like people will believe them if they come forward.

Are you or someone you know experiencing sexual abuse? Call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at (800) 656-HOPE (4673).



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When #MeToo Brings Down Your Stars


Since the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the #MeToo movement has repeatedly demanded justice for victims of sexual harassment and assault. With good reason, you hear about it everywhere: on awards shows, radio, the front page of BuzzFeed. I’ve crossed my fingers some nights, praying that no one I’ve chosen to support with my admiration and hard-earned cash is actually a creep. After all, there’s practically a new headline every week about some celebrity being accused of or confessing to sexual misconduct. Some of these celebrities include James Franco, Matt Lauer and, “Cry Baby” singer and former The Voice contestant, Melanie Martinez.

Martinez’s story doesn’t just stand out to me because I went to one of her concerts two years ago, but also because it’s one of the only widely reported headlines involving a young, upcoming female celebrity allegedly sexually assaulting another female. Timothy Heller, a former friend of Martinez’s, wrote on Twitter that Martinez repeatedly made sexual advances toward her, despite Heller refusing them numerous times. Heller claimed that eventually, Martinez sexually assaulted her. Since the story was posted online, Martinez has made two public statements denying the accusations, saying, “She never said no to what we chose to do together.” More recently, Martinez released a new song entitled “Piggyback,” which appears to throw heavy shade at Heller.

The fan reaction has been mixed. Some made the “#melaniemartinezisover” tag trend in mere hours. Others have remained loyal “Cry Babies” by trying to find any evidence of Martinez’s innocence. The rest have either kept quiet or still don’t know where they stand. I’m in the latter group. After all, there’s no confirmed truth. We weren’t in the room where it happened; no one knows the whole story except them. I had liked Melanie Martinez since she released “Cry Baby” and even bought a cassette version of the album. But Heller’s story is so terrible; it makes me feel ashamed I was ever a fan in the first place.

As more stories come to light, it’s important to remind ourselves that some of these celebrities are truly adored and idolized. Most of us have that one celebrity we love endlessly, and for some, that might have been Martinez. Instead of rubbing it in fans’ faces that they supported a potential rapist, try to be respectful. This is a funeral; they may be mourning the bright image they once had of that person.

The post When #MeToo Brings Down Your Stars appeared first on Sex, Etc..



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Four Great Sexual Health Apps



By Gillian Hatcher, 18, Staff Writer


February 14, 2017

We all have our phones on us most of the day, and we all use at least five apps a day, so why not add a few great sexual health apps?

Recently, Answer—the organization that publishes Sex, Etc.—published a report in which they asked teens to use and review apps and other web-based digital tools related to sexual health. The report looks at what is working in the world of sexual health digital tools and recommends how organizations in the field of sexual and reproductive health can do an even better job of using technology to provide us with accurate sexual health info.

Here are four apps that received all-around high praise!

Bedsider’s Birth Control Reminders

This is an app for people like me who always need a reminder to take their birth control. The cool thing about this app is that each day you get to learn a weird fact, get a beautiful quote or some new reading material, all while being reminded about your birth control of choice. Some of my favorites have been a link to a women’s literature list, the quote “There is a moon, that rests in the quiet corners of a lover’s lips” and insight into Cleopatra’s signature lipstick.

Circle of 6

I personally had all of my friends download this app. Circle of 6 allows you to keep in contact with your friends and family anytime: while you’re out and alone, feeling uncomfortable at a party or not feeling safe while on a date, for example. You can send a text to your “circle” with the press of a button, asking them to “Call and pretend you need me. I need an interruption.” You can also easily send texts like “I’m home safe” and “Come and get me. I need help getting home safely” with your location. Circle of 6 makes it that much easier to have the support and help of your family and friends when you need it most.

Eve

Eve is not your normal period tracker app; it’s actually a lot more. Just like other period trackers, there are reminders when your period should start and a log to track all of your symptoms. But it also has a bunch of articles, quizzes and an active community you can participate in. Here you can talk to other people about their periods and share advice and tips to get through your period. It might be weird to call a period tracker app “fun,” but Eve is definitely a fun app to have on your phone.

Planned Parenthood Chat/Text

While Planned Parenthood Chat/Text isn’t an app, it is a great digital tool that you can access on your phone. Go to the Planned Parenthood website and click the “Chat Now” button. Through the chat, you can have your sexual questions answered by a professional. This tool is beyond valuable and something that you should use if you ever have a question about your sexual health and need a quick answer.

I hope that these apps make it onto your phone to stay. Are there other sexual health apps or digital tools that you love? Leave a comment below.



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Harvard Ladies Speak Out In opposition to Sexual Objectification



By Gillian Hatcher, 18, Staff Author


November 18, 2016

It looks that each and every yr there is yet another report of a team of male university students rating their female peers on a scale of attractiveness or developing a sport out of acquiring any sort of sexual get hold of with them. This yr the school in concern is Harvard University.

Again in 2012, as a new team of women had been staying brought in to perform soccer and research at Harvard, the gamers on the men’s soccer group began developing what they identified as a “scouting report.” This “report” ranked their female counterparts on their “attractiveness and sexual appeal” along with other explicit classes. This yr, another person shared the report publicly, and the men’s soccer group is staying held accountable for their actions, with the university cancelling the rest of their season.

This pattern of male university students rating their female peers based on appears to be like and sexual charm is a pretty dangerous matter. By doing this, the adult men are reducing these women to objects, when in simple fact they are full women who are just striving to get an education. Due to the fact the adult men who rank them could now just see them as figures and not as full persons, the women are no longer human and deserving of moral worry, and when you deny someone’s humanity, it sets the stage for abuse and assault.

In response to the “scouting report,” the women who had been stated in it arrived jointly and wrote a piece for Harvard’s school paper The Harvard Crimson. The women—who all graduated from Harvard in 2016—condemned the actions of the men’s soccer group and identified as for a transform:

“As women of Harvard Soccer and of the globe, we want to acquire this experience as an chance to motivate our fellow women to band jointly in combating this kind of habits, mainly because we are a group and we are stronger when we are united.

To the adult men of Harvard soccer and to the adult men of the globe, we invite you to be part of us, mainly because in the long run we are all users of the exact same group. We are human beings and we really should be treated with dignity. We want your help in combatting this. We want your help in avoiding this. We can’t transform the past, but we are inquiring you to help us now and in the future.”

These women have responded to staying objectified in a way that can only be applauded, mainly because they took this likelihood to inquire persons to unite and enact transform. As a female university student, I have almost nothing but pure respect and adore for these women and how they have taken care of this full debacle.

Please acquire a moment out of your working day to study the full post composed by these women. Get their text to heart, mainly because no one particular deserves to be objectified and treated like this, and it is anything that can only be stopped if we all operate jointly.



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Harvard Ladies Talk Out Against Sexual Objectification



By Gillian Hatcher, eighteen, Employees Writer


November eighteen, 2016

It looks that every single calendar year there is a different report of a team of male college learners position their feminine friends on a scale of attractiveness or developing a recreation out of possessing any variety of sexual get in touch with with them. This calendar year the school in concern is Harvard College.

Back in 2012, as a new team of ladies have been becoming introduced in to play soccer and examine at Harvard, the players on the men’s soccer group started developing what they termed a “scouting report.” This “report” ranked their feminine counterparts on their “attractiveness and sexual appeal” alongside with other explicit groups. This calendar year, someone shared the report publicly, and the men’s soccer group is becoming held accountable for their steps, with the college cancelling the rest of their time.

This craze of male college learners position their feminine friends based mostly on seems and sexual attractiveness is a pretty dangerous matter. By carrying out this, the men are reducing these ladies to objects, when in actuality they are full ladies who are just attempting to get an schooling. Since the men who rank them may perhaps now just see them as numbers and not as full people today, the ladies are no longer human and worthy of ethical worry, and when you deny someone’s humanity, it sets the phase for abuse and assault.

In reaction to the “scouting report,” the ladies who have been outlined in it came collectively and wrote a piece for Harvard’s school paper The Harvard Crimson. The women—who all graduated from Harvard in 2016—condemned the steps of the men’s soccer group and termed for a adjust:

“As ladies of Harvard Soccer and of the globe, we want to just take this expertise as an chance to stimulate our fellow ladies to band collectively in combating this variety of conduct, due to the fact we are a group and we are stronger when we are united.

To the men of Harvard soccer and to the men of the globe, we invite you to sign up for us, due to the fact in the long run we are all users of the identical group. We are human beings and we should really be handled with dignity. We want your assistance in combatting this. We want your assistance in stopping this. We simply cannot adjust the earlier, but we are inquiring you to assistance us now and in the potential.”

These ladies have responded to becoming objectified in a way that can only be applauded, due to the fact they took this probability to question people today to unite and enact adjust. As a feminine college student, I have almost nothing but pure respect and adore for these ladies and how they have managed this full debacle.

Remember to just take a second out of your day to go through the full short article composed by these ladies. Just take their words and phrases to coronary heart, due to the fact no 1 deserves to be objectified and handled like this, and it is something that can only be stopped if we all work collectively.



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Owen Labrie Demo Attracts Awareness to Boys Preying on Ladies



By Alexis Pawlowski, 17, Staff members Author


December seven, 2015

Not long ago the trial of Owen Labrie, a previous college student at St. Paul’s University in New Hampshire, came to a close when he was observed not guilty on counts of felony sexual assault but guilty of obtaining sexual intercourse with another person beneath the age of consent and making use of a pc to solicit a slight. The scenario began immediately after the accuser approved Labrie’s invitation to the “senior salute,” a tradition at the school in which graduating senior males compete to hook up with as many more youthful woman college students as attainable. In the girl’s account, she states that she did consent to some sexual conduct but claims that Labrie pressured her into further more sexual functions immediately after she said no.

The entire strategy of the senior salute, with more mature boys “scoring” (in their words and phrases) with more youthful women and making use of them as pawns in a game, would seem to advertise and normalize the strategy of sexual assault. As a substitute of an natural environment emphasizing regard, this apply implies that preying on women and observing them as sexual objects is someway great. 

Gender and electrical power dynamics also arrive into participate in. The senior salute has apparently been a well-known tradition amongst the school’s male college students, and the woman in concern might have been pressured into collaborating. She has said that she turned down Labrie’s to start with give to fulfill up, but immediately after he presented yet again, a good friend inspired her to take into account it. She eventually said indeed since he was “one of the most well-known boys” and “It would be great.” In large school, there is generally strain to conform she said she “didn’t want to arrive off as an inexperienced tiny girl” and “didn’t want him [Labrie] to laugh at” her. Take into consideration how the social hierarchy at the school, the seniority and popularity of Labrie and the girl’s wish to suit in might have shaped how these functions unfolded.

Hopefully, this girl’s expertise will make colleges and modern society at significant continue on (or begin, in some conditions) to confront the difficulties of sexual assault, rape culture and gender politics, and educate college students on consent and regard. 

 



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Owen Labrie Trial Attracts Attention to Boys Preying on Women



By Alexis Pawlowski, seventeen, Employees Writer


December seven, 2015

Not too long ago the trial of Owen Labrie, a former university student at St. Paul’s University in New Hampshire, came to a shut when he was uncovered not guilty on counts of felony sexual assault but guilty of owning sexual intercourse with an individual less than the age of consent and making use of a pc to solicit a small. The situation commenced after the accuser recognized Labrie’s invitation to the “senior salute,” a custom at the university in which graduating senior males compete to hook up with as many youthful woman learners as attainable. In the girl’s account, she suggests that she did consent to some sexual habits but claims that Labrie pressured her into further sexual acts after she said no.

The total thought of the senior salute, with older boys “scoring” (in their text) with youthful women and making use of them as pawns in a sport, would seem to promote and normalize the thought of sexual assault. Instead of an ecosystem emphasizing respect, this exercise implies that preying on women and viewing them as sexual objects is somehow cool. 

Gender and ability dynamics also appear into enjoy. The senior salute has evidently been a popular custom among the school’s male learners, and the woman in problem may possibly have been pressured into participating. She has said that she turned down Labrie’s first offer to satisfy up, but after he supplied yet again, a pal inspired her to take into account it. She finally said yes since he was “one of the most popular boys” and “It would be cool.” In superior university, there is generally force to conform she said she “didn’t want to appear off as an inexperienced very little girl” and “didn’t want him [Labrie] to laugh at” her. Contemplate how the social hierarchy at the university, the seniority and popularity of Labrie and the girl’s drive to suit in may possibly have formed how these occasions unfolded.

With any luck ,, this girl’s working experience will make universities and modern society at large go on (or start, in some instances) to confront the issues of sexual assault, rape culture and gender politics, and teach learners on consent and respect. 

 



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Girl Gaga’s “Til It Happens to You” Empathizes With Survivors of Sexual Assault



By Jordan Chester, seventeen, Staff Author


October 26, 2015