Adolescent Sexuality

Healthy adolescent sexual development and sexual violence prevention

sidebar-teens-5Sexuality is much more than sex — it’s our values, attitudes, feelings, interactions, and behaviors. Sexuality is emotional, social,cultural, and physical. Sexual development is one part of sexuality, and it begins much earlier in life than adolescence. By the time we reach adolescence, we already have received many messages about sexuality (Strasburger, 2005).

While some adolescents might receive accurate and comprehensive information from school, their parents, and elsewhere, others might receive little information. In the absence of healthy, realistic messages about sexuality,many adolescents turn to other sources of information such as their peers, the internet, and the media (Gruber & Grube, 2000). This might leave youth without an understanding of healthy relationships, consent, boundaries,and how to engage safely in sexual behaviors. An understanding of healthy sexuality can help prevent sexual violence by addressing gender norms and inequality, promoting healthy relationships, encouraging an understanding of boundaries and consent, and helping young people feel empowered to ask questions and seek support when they need it.

This Printable Document contains more in depth information about Adolescent Sexuality development.

Child Sexuality

parent1Understanding healthy childhood sexual development plays a key role in child sexual abuse prevention. Many adults are never taught what to expect as children develop sexually, which can make it hard to tell the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors.
When adults understand the difference between healthy and unhealthy behaviors, they are better able to support healthy attitudes and behaviors and react to teachable moments. Rather than interpret a child’s actions with an adult perspective of sex and sexuality, adults can promote healthy development when they understand what behaviors are developmentally expected at different stages of childhood. They are also better equipped to intervene when there are concerns related to behavior or abuse.

Understanding childhood sexual development

Sexuality is much more than sex – it’s our values, attitudes, feelings, interactions and behaviors. Sexuality is emotional, social, cultural,and physical. Sexual development is one partof sexuality, and it begins much earlier in life than puberty. Infants and children may not think about sexuality in same way as adults, but they learn and interpret messages related to sexualitythat will shape their future actions and attitudes.
For example, when a three year old removes their clothes in front of others, a parent ma ytell him or her that “being naked is okay at bath time, or in your room, but not while your cousins are here.” The child is learning that there are times when it is OK to be naked and times whe nit is not.

Children are constantly learning social norms and what is expected or appropriate in interactions and relationships. There are healthy and common expressions of sexuality that children are likely to show at different developmental stages. Often adults want to know which behaviors are appropriate and indicate healthy childhood sexual development. The information in the attached Printable Document addresses common behaviors that represent healthy childhood sexual development as well as what knowledge and skills are appropriate for children at each stage.

(National Child Traumatic Stress Network, 2009; The Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada, 2012).

Adult Sexuality

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Healthy Sexuality

An Overview on Healthy Sexuality and Sexual Violence Prevention

This overview provides a framework for promoting healthy sexuality as an approach to sexual violence prevention.

Healthy Sexuality: A Guide for Advocates, Counselors and Prevention Educators

This guide provides guidance and practical tools for discussing healthy sexuality within the context of sexual violence for advocates, counselors, prevention educators, and activists.

Healthy sexuality glossary

This glossary outlines key terms and definitions for understanding healthy human sexuality.
Also available in Spanish.

Healthy sexuality resource list

This resource list provides links to other websites, organizations and materials for more information on healthy human sexuality.
Mes de Conciencia sobre la Agresion Sexual (SAAM) 2012 Recursos

Fact Sheets & Scenarios for Discussion 

It’s time… to talk to your children about healthy sexuality

This fact sheet provides an overview for parents and caregivers on how to your children about healthy sexual development. Also available in Spanish.

It’s time… to talk about consent

This fact sheet highlights the importance of consent in healthy sexual interactions and provides information on defining and establishing consent. Also available in Spanish.
 

It’s time… to talk about gender norms

This fact sheet discusses the impact of gender norms on sexuality and examples of how healthier, less restrictive gender norms can prevent violence and promote healthy relationships. Also available in Spanish.

Incest

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What is Incest?

Incest is any sexual activity between members of the same family, other than a husband and wife. It
includes anything from fondling to penetration and can include contact between parents, stepparents,
or guardians and their children, between siblings, or among members of the extended family
such as grandparents or cousins.

Incest remains one of the most under-reported crimes in America. There are few reliable statistics on
incest, however we know that approximately 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by
the time they turn 18 and that 93% of kids are assaulted by someone they know and trust (RAINN,
2013). Often these abusers are family members who are seen as “upstanding” and “respectable”
members of the community. Incest occurs to both boys and girls and happens in rich and poor
families. Often there are other forms of abuse including physical and emotional abuse, domestic
violence and alcohol and drug abuse, however incest can happen in any family.

What is the Difference Between Incest and Child Sexual Abuse?

Incest is a type of sexual abuse where the perpetrator is someone in the family. While all forms of
sexual abuse can have negative effects, incest often has particularly damaging effects. The primary
support system for the child is disrupted and the family often cannot provide safety for the child. It
can also deeply damage trust and self-esteem since the abuse was at the hands of those who were
supposed to protect and care for the child.

Sexual Abuse is NEVER the Fault of the Child

No matter what you believe, a child is NEVER to blame for sexual abuse. Many survivors
experience intense guilt or shame for the ways they believe they caused or participated in the
abuse, however it is always the fault of the perpetrator. Even if children do not disclose the abuse, it
is not their fault. Silence is not consent.

Reasons Victims May Not Disclose

There are many reasons why victims may not disclose abuse including:

  • the victim may believe or have been told that what is happening is normal
  • the victim may love the abuser and not want them to get in trouble
  • the victim may be afraid of what will happen to him or her due to threats from the abuser or other
  • family members
  • the victim may fear getting in trouble or being accused of doing something wrong
  • the victim may not want to disrupt the family
  • the victim may not know who to talk to or how to access help

Recovery

If you are a survivor of incest, you are not alone. There is hope for healing and recovery.
Evidenced-based mental health treatment can address a wide-range of issues and effects of the
abuse. Talk to a counselor about what options are best for you. Seek out support from an
organization designed to meet the needs of incest survivors or join a support group. Talk to a
trusted friend or family member. Take the first step toward healing today!

What to do if you suspect child sexual abuse or incest

  • If you suspect abuse of any child under 18, you are required to make a report to Child Protective
  • Services at the Dept. of Social Services.
  • If you believe the child is in immediate danger call 911 or the local police department.
  • Contact The Healing Place for additional guidance and assistance.

Internet Safety

Internet Safety93% of Kids Age 10-17 Use the Internet (A Nation Online Study – 2002)
82% use the internet for email, chat rooms, and/or visiting websites
44% have visited websites with x-rated content (Time-CNN Poll)

Characteristics of Predators

  • Most offenders are male.
  • They often hold respectable jobs.
  • Offenders tend to relate more easily to children than adults.
  • They may seek employment or volunteer opportunities at a child’s organization.
  • They can be extremely convincing.
  • They rely on the inexperience of their potential victims, and they know what to say and do to gain their trust.

Internet Safety1 in 7 youths between the ages of 10 and 17 has received unwanted sexual solicitations on line.
1 in 25 youths has received an aggressive solicitation to meet somewhere.
14% of solicitations were from offline friends and acquaintances.
Most North Carolina parents (60%) felt their children are at some risk of being contacted or preyed upon by someone they do not know while on the Internet.

Characteristics of a Child Victim

  • ANY child, including those who may be performing well in school and socializing
    with a “good” crowd of friends
  • Naturally curious
  • Too trusting
  • Easily led by adults
  • Desire attention and affection
  • Curious about sex
  • Need to defy parents

1 in 3 youths (34%) has been exposed to
sexually explicit pictures online without seeking or expecting them.
Most North Carolina parents (80%) expressed concern

Consult these helpful articles to stay abreast of Internet Safety for yourself and your family:

Internet Terms

Internet Safety Tips-English

Internet Safety Tips-Spanish

Internet Safety

Chat Abbreviations

 

Sexual Harassment

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Sexual harassment has, in the past ten years, become more noticeable and talked about. The general public is still confused about what constitutes sexual harassment which leads to more jokes and discussion. Those individuals within the anti violence movement understand the ramifications of being subjected to such abuse and realizes its escalating potential.

Sexual harassment if a form of sexual discrimination that violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964.

Unwelcome sexual advances, request for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature constitutes sexual harassment, when submission to or rejection of this conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonable interferes with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Case law interpreting both Title VII and some state laws distinguishes between two broad categories of sexual harassment: “quid pro quo” and “environment sexual harassment”. A quid pro quo claim involves allegations that submission to unwelcome sexual advances or request for sexual favors was made in a condition to getting, keeping or advancing in a job. A hostile environment claim is based on allegations that the company either created or condoned an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment.

Quid Pro Quo Harassment
Quid pro quo harassment is generally viewed as a more blatant form of sex discrimination than environmental sexual harassment because it results in a tangible economic loss. An example of quid pro quo harassment might involve a supervisor threatening an employee with demotion if s/he failed to acquiesce to his/her sexual advances. Significantly, the alleged harasser need not explicitly state promotion or continued employment on submission to his request. Rather, it is enough that it be implied from the words or conduct used by the alleged harasser. Because of the vagueness of quid pro quo sexual harassment definition, we provide the following examples of conduct that was deemed by different courts to have met the standard:

  1. An employee rejected her male supervisor’s sexual advances and was later fired by higher-level administrator purportedly for calling in sick. A male employee who called in sick the same day was not discharged.
  2. A female resident was discharged from a residency program. She contended that a senior resident had requested a sexual relationship and told her that low-level female residents usually engage in such relationship to ease their way through the residency program.
  3. A female receptionist refused to have sexual relations with a customer and resisted the owner’s sexual advances. It was found that through his remarks, demands and conduct, the owner made it a condition of the employee’s job that she provide sexual favors to him and to his customers.
  4. The U.S. Postal Service was held liable for a supervisor’s sexual harassment of a deaf-mute mail sorter. Although the supervisor never explicitly conditioned job benefits on the granting of sexual favors, the court held that discussions of employment topics, such as attendance, leaves of absence and performance appraisals shortly before asking the employee to engage in oral sex was implicit quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Sexual Favoritism as Quid Pro Quo Harassment
Similar, but potentially more troublesome, is sexual favoritism as quid pro quo harassment. These claims involve allegations by an employee denied a promotion or other job benefit that the employee who received that benefit did so because s/he performed sexual favors for a supervisor. The apparent reason the courts allow such claims is that by the employer allowing sexual favoritism, the employer implies to others that if an employee does not submit to such sexual advances, the employee will not receive an employment benefit. The practical effect for employers is that they can potentially be sued by two or more employees for a single act of course of conduct by a supervisor. Thus, there is extra incentive for an employer to prevent this type of quid pro quo sexual harassment.

Hostile Environment Harassment
Hostile environment claims involve allegations that a company (or its employees) either created or condoned an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment. Such an environment can be created, for example, by making unwelcome sexual advances, requesting sexual favors, or engaging in other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. A hostile environment exists when an employee’s work environment becomes polluted with unwelcome sexual words or conduct.

When evaluating an employee’s complaint that s/he had been subject to hostile environment sexual harassment, employers will want to keep in mind the elements the employee will have to prove if s/he decide to sue under either Title VII or some state laws.

Hostile Environment claims require the employee to show all the following elements:

  1. That s/he was subjected to a work environment in which there were sexual advances, requests for sexual favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Remember that same-sex harassment is now recognized under federal law;
  2. That the conduct was unwelcome; and
  3. That the conduct was sufficiently severe or pervasive to alter the conditions of the victim’s employment and create an abusive working environment.

The following are examples of the type of conduct that is prohibited by the statutes governing sexual harassment. You should understand that there is no exhaustive list to which an employer can turn in determining what type of conduct is prohibited.

  • Verbal harassment, including epithets (descriptive name or title, derogatory comments or slurs that are based on sex.
  • Physical harassment, including assault, impeding or blocking movement or any physical interference with normal work or movement when directed at an individual based on sex, or
  • Visual harassment, includes derogatory posters, cartoons, or drawings based on sex.

It should also be noted that non-sexual conduct can support a sexual harassment claim when that conduct is based on sex or gender. In an often cited case, a female police officer sued her employer, alleging that she had been subjected to a campaign of threats, rejections, mockery, and intimidation because of her gender. She did not allege that she was subjected to any overly sexual acts. Even so, the court held that the conduct was actionable because it constituted harassment based on the officer’s gender.

To report a sexual harassment claim
Do not make legal assumptions or give legal advice. Should a caller seek information on how to file a claim, refer them to the North Carolina Department of Labor at 1-800-NC-LABOR (625-2267).

Sexual Assault

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Definition: Sexual contact that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient of the behavior.

Such contact can take the form of:
• Harassment
• Exposing/flashing
• Forcing a person to pose for sexual pictures
• Fondling
• Unwanted sexual touching or penetration with any object

In most extreme cases, sexual assault may involve force which may include, but is not limited to:
• Use or display of a weapon
• Physical battering
• Immobilization of the victim

More often, sexual assault involves psychological coercion and taking advantage of an individual who is under duress or incapacitated and, therefore incapable of making a decision on his/her own (including being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and/or prescription medications).

Physical & Emotional Reactions
• Shock
• Numbness
• Loss of control
• Disorientation
• Helplessness
• Sense of vulnerability
• Fear
• Self-blame/guile for “allowing” the crime to happen
• Feeling that these reactions are a sign of weakness

This section was adapted from materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

Stranger Rape

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3 Major Categories

  1. Blitz sexual assault – the perpetrator rapidly and brutally assaults the victim with no prior contact. Blitz assaults usually occur at night in a public place.
  2. Contact sexual assault – the perpetrator contacts the victim and tries to gain his/her trust and confidence before assaulting him/her. Contact perpetrators pick their victims in bars, lure them into their cars, or otherwise try to coerce the victim into a situation of sexual assault.
  3. Home invasion sexual assault – the perpetrator breaks into the victim’s home to commit the assault.

Physical & Emotional Reactions
• Shock
• Numbness
• Loss of Control
• Disorientation
• Helplessness
• Sense of vulnerability
• Fear
• Self-blame for “allowing” the crime to happen
• Feeling that these reactions are a sign of weakness

 
This section was adapted from materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

Rape

Definition: Forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object. Rape may be forced through threats, physical force, or psychological coercion.
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In the most extreme cases, rape may involve force which may include, but is not limited to:

  • Use or display of a weapon
  • Physical battering
  • Immobilization of the victim

More often, rape involves psychological coercion and taking advantage of an individual who is under duress or incapacitated, and therefore, incapable of making a decision on his/her own (including being under the influence of alcohol, drugs, and/or prescription medications).

Physical & Emotional Reactions

  • Shock
  • Numbness
  • Loss of control
  • Disorientation
  • Helplessness
  • Sense of vulnerability
  • Fear
  • Self-blame/guile for “allowing” the crime to happen
  • Feeling that these reactions are a sign of weakness
This section was adapted from materials provided by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault.

 

 

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Website: http://www.thehealingplace.info
Email: info@thehealingplace.info