Whether you are a survivor of sexual assault or intimate partner violence, it’s not your fault. No one ever deserves to be sexually assaulted or abused. Neither your age, nor the age of the person who harmed you changes that.
Did you know?
Many teenage survivors choose not to seek help after experiencing sexual assault/abuse or dating violence for many reasons. They may not want people to know about it, they may be worried about getting in trouble, or they may not even realize that what they are experiencing is abuse.
Lumina Alliance is here to support you, regardless of age. Any survivor age 12 or older can access our services completely confidentially, and at no cost to you – without your parent or guardian knowing. Sexual assault, sexual abuse, and dating violence are incredibly common amongst teenagers. This is partly because many teenagers have been taught by media and peers that some behaviors (like name calling, put downs, isolation, etc.) are a “normal” part of a relationship. These behaviors can become abusive and develop into serious forms of violence. It is also important to note that dating violence is much more than just physical violence – verbal, emotional, financial, and spiritual abuse also fall under dating violence and should be taken seriously.
Are you in an unhealthy or abusive relationship?
Do you think you might be in an unhealthy or abusive relationship? Here are some examples of abusive behaviors:
- Your partner(s) calls you names, puts you down, or makes you feel bad about yourself.
- Your partner(s) don’t let you spend time with friends or family and want you all to themself. They get really jealous if you aren’t with them and need to know where you are at all times.
- Your partner(s) spend money on you and expect sexual acts in return, because you “owe” them.
- Your partner(s) pressure you to do things you aren’t ready for.
- Your partner(s) don’t trust you.
Data from CDC’s Youth Risk Behavior Survey and the National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey indicate that:
- Nearly 1 in 11 female and approximately 1 in 14 male high school students report having experienced physical dating violence in the last year.
- About 1 in 8 female and 1 in 26 male high school students report having experienced sexual dating violence in the last year.
- 26% of women and 15% of men who were victims of contact sexual violence, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime first experienced these or other forms of violence by that partner before age 18.
These numbers are much higher for teenagers who identify as a part of the LGBTQIA+ community.
Sexual assault, sexual abuse, and intimate-partner violence are traumatic experiences. Following an attack, you may have physical pain, injuries, and strong emotional reactions.
You may experience many different feelings, such as self-blame, shame, anger, fear, guilt, or grief. You may find you’re unable to concentrate or focus because you “can’t stop” thinking about what happened. You may also experience flashbacks that make you feel nervous, angry or afraid. All these feelings are perfectly normal reactions.
No matter what, the abuse was not your fault. It’s never too late to start healing from this experience. Lumina Alliance offers confidential services to teenage survivors at no cost to you. Please call our 24-hr crisis and information line at 805-545-8888 to learn more and be connected with an advocate.