Category Archives: Teen Pregnancy

Sexual Abuse: No Means NO!

In the United States, 1 in 5 girls and 1 in 20 boys is a victim of sexual abuse at some point in their lives. Sexual abuse can be rape, inappropriate touching, the abuser showing the victim pornography, or doing anything else sexually that the victim isn’t comfortable with. When someone says “no,” that means NO and if the other person forces them to do it anyway, that’s sexual assault.

In most sexual abuse situations, the abuser is someone the victim knows well. Of course, that isn’t ALWAYS the case; but usually it is a boyfriend or girlfriend, a teacher or coach, even a good family friend or a friend’s parent. Sometimes sexual assault is a one-time thing, and sometimes it goes on for weeks, months, or years… in either case, it is NOT okay and shouldn’t be kept a secret.

People who are being sexually abused usually develop low self-esteem, a feeling of worthlessness, have an abnormal/distorted view of love and sex, become withdrawn and mistrustful of adults, and can sometimes even become suicidal. If one of your friends starts acting this way, you should ask them what’s going on.

If someone is trying to get you to do something you’re uncomfortable with, even if you’re dating them, you can ALWAYS say no. Even if you’ve already started doing it, it’s okay to change your mind… even if you’ve already done it before, whether it’s been once or several times, you can STILL say no. They might try to manipulate you into doing it by saying “If you really loved me, you’d do it,” or “We’ve done it before, so you might as well”… don’t listen to them. If they really loved YOU, they wouldn’t want to make you do anything you don’t want to do. If they do something to you, IT’S NOT YOUR FAULT. It doesn’t matter how you look, how you’re dressed, what you say, where you are, or who you’re with. It’s never your fault.

If you are sexually assaulted, here’s what you need to do:

  • Seek medical attention, preferably at the Emergency Room if you can. Make sure you go right away, don’t shower or change clothes first, so you don’t disturb any evidence that medical staff might be able to collect for the police. The medical staff can make sure you’re okay, and also do tests to see if you’re pregnant, if you were drugged, or if you got an STD. Have a friend or trusted adult go with you to make things easier.
  • If you want to report the assault, call the police.
  • Tell a friend or an adult so somebody knows what happened to you. They can help you figure out what to do, and find a safe place to stay if you need one.
  • If you don’t feel like you can tell anyone, call a local service provider that helps sexual abuse victims or a national hotline. Some national hotlines you can call are: The National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (1-800-656-4673), the National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline at 1-866-331-9474 and 1-866-331-8453, and the Childhelp National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453).

If you find out that one of your friends is being sexually abused, or even if they won’t tell you but you think they are…

  • Talk to them about it. Ask them if anyone is hurting them or forcing them to do anything inappropriate. Listen patiently, and without judgment; let them know it’s not their fault, and offer your support and encouragement in getting help.
  • Try to get them to go to the hospital, offer to go with them.
  • Report the assault to an adult you trust, even if your friend doesn’t want you to. Telling someone might save their life.

ABC’s of AIDS

Tomorrow, December 1st is World AIDS Day. This video is a great introduction into what this day is all about. Youth Outreach  will be having a World AIDS Day event at 6 pm tomorrow as well. We will be showing a video of  AIDS on a global scale, discussing the truth and lies about AIDS and how to protect ourselves from getting AIDS.

We will be using  Avert’s Prevention ABC’s to discuss keeping ourselves safe from AIDS.

A: Abstinence

B: Be Faithful

C: Condoms every time

Instant Adulthood

The age of eleven is a fun time for most kids. A typical eleven year old is in fourth or fifth grade and still enjoys a favorite game at recess with friends. Adulthood seems like it is an eternity in the future, and the extent of responsibility is cleaning up a bedroom, doing dishes, and taking out the trash.  It is safe to say that the typical eleven year old is thinking about anything but being a grown-up, and this is how it should be. A preteen, or a teen for that matter, is not ready for adulthood yet and should enjoy the few carefree years he or she has before taking on the real world.

Unfortunately, there are a few mistakes that a young person can make that will instantly end his or her youth and thrust them into adulthood. Perhaps the most common is sex. According to Fox News, “An 11-year-old girl in the Northeast recently gave birth to a baby boy.” She and the baby are doing well, but she is no longer a carefree kid.

“This is heart-wrenching because you have a kid whose mental capacities can’t possibly wrap themselves around what it means to be a mother,” agreed Dr. Keith Ablow, a psychiatrist and Fox News contributor. “There are so many psychological minefields in store for her. Feelings of guilt, feelings of wanting to nurture another human being, and yet this is all very, very complex and intense when she looks to her own family to essentially support, and if you will, father her child.” Ablow pointed out that the girl is dependent on her own family to take care of her, yet she now has a child who is dependent on her. “She has her own life plan, and yet there’s another life that should take precedence.”

Although the new baby will be a tremendous blessing to the family, the eleven year old mother has a rough road ahead of her. This is one of the consequences of not waiting to have sex. Along with pregnancy, one can contract sexually transmitted diseases and suffer severe emotional distress by not waiting.

Young person, would you, as a teenager, want to take out a thirty year mortgage on a home? Would you enjoy having to cough up thousands of dollars a month just to have a place to live?  Of course not. No money for music, video games, or nights out with friends because every dime goes toward your house payment.  This sounds miserable and  is way too much responsibility for your age, right? Realize that raising another human being is the biggest responsibility you will ever have. Having sex as a teenager will cause instant adulthood. Wait to have sex.

Alcohol and the ladies…

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Most people assume that men drink more alcohol than women. Research shows that theory to be true for the over 21 (legal to drink) population.

An interesting and troubling fact is that the trend is reversed for young girls and boys. When 8th graders are polled about their lifestyle choices, more girls than boys admit to consuming alcohol within the last 30 days. More girls than boys also admit to engaging in “binge drinking” which is defined as consuming more than five alcoholic drinks on the same occasion.

As young teens age, the gap shrinks before the trend reverses as teens enter adulthood (age 18, still not legal age for alcohol consumption).

Why?

One explanation is the advertisements. Producers of alcoholic drinks frequently advertise in magazines that are sold to teens. The Center on Alcohol Marketing and Youth found that girls age 12-20 (all underage girls) were exposed to 68% MORE beer advertisement than their over 21 adult women counterparts. Boys between 12 and 20 also saw 29% more beer ads than men 21 or over. Girls saw 30% more ads than 21+ women for distilled spirits while boys and men saw about the same amount. Perhaps the most troublesome finding is that girls who are not yet of legal drinking age saw NINETY-FIVE PERCENT (95%) more ads than legal aged women for low-alcohol refreshers, also called alcopops, malternatives, or chick beer.

The advertisements have increased in frequency and are flooding magazines that young girls tend to buy. In 2002, girls’ exposure to magazine-based alcohol ads increased 216% compared to the year before. Boys’ exposure increased only 46% (still very significant) in their magazines. Sixteen alcohol brands made up more than half of the ads to which girls between 12 and 20 were exposed.

While girls continue to consume more alcohol, they also continue to have the most frequent, long-lasting, and immediate consequences for giving in to the walls of alcohol advertisements.

– girls and women are more susceptible to alcohol induced health problems related to the heart, brain, and/or liver
– women and men metabolize alcohol different so women may gain more weight than men as a result of consuming the booze-based calories
– several analyses have found that female consumption of alcohol increases the chances of developing breast cancer – a trend not matched with men
– teenage girls who are identified as binge drinkers are 63% more likely to become teen mothers than girls who do not drink
– in prisons, a survey revealed that 40% of sexual offenders assaulted women while they were under the influence of alcohol
– in domestic violence calls, 67% involve an abuser who consumed alcohol

If alcohol companies claim they are not advertising to teens; not targeting underage youth to begin or continue to drink, why would they advertise in magazines primarily purchased and viewed by that exact population? Is it ethical for magazine publishers and distributors to sell ad space to booze pushers when they know the purchasers of their magazines are largely underage youth? What could be done about it? Should the magazine producers be held accountable or is it the responsibility of the alcohol producer to be careful where they advertise?
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