Sexual assault and other harassment are terrible problems that often remain hidden but can have terrible consequences. Teenagers, unfortunately, face a high risk. According to studies, the ages of 12 to 34 are the highest risk years for sexual violence. Females from 16 to 19 are four times more likely to be victims.
Date rape, teacher assault, abusive relationship and abuse through technology are among the major causes of sexual abuse. It is essential to recognize the signs of this abuse because it is often not reported or disclosed, and it causes more harm the longer it remains hidden.
These warning signs can be among the everyday problems that teenagers deal with as they mature and begin to relate to their bodies, friends, and environment. Trust your instincts when something seems wrong with a teenager.
Asking and being wrong is better than having a teenager cope with sexual assault by themselves. Assure them that you will believe them and that any assault or abuse is not their fault.
You should reach out to a teenager if you they have these problems:
- Unusual weight changes.
- Appetite loss, excessive eating, or other patterns of unhealthy eating.
- Bruises and other physical abuse signs.
- Sexually transmitted disease or other genital infections.
- Ongoing sadness, lack of energy, changing sleep or appetite, avoiding normal activities or other signs of depression.
- Lower academic performance.
- Paying less attention to hygiene or appearance.
- Expressing suicidal thoughts or engaging in suicide behavior.
- Alcohol or drug use.
Because dating is new for teenagers, it is important to understand the risks of an abusive relationship. Abuse places them at a greater risk of sexual assault. Abusive behavior includes:
- Trying to get a partner to engage in sexual activity against their hesitation or objections.
- Sexual assault or coercion to engage in sexual activity.
- Physical harm or hitting.
- Preventing them from spending time with friends and family or engaging in their extracurricular or social activities.
- Controlling behavior.
- Using drugs or alcohol to impair the inclination to decline sex.
Technology and online activity may cause sexual harassment. Digital photographs, videos, apps, and social media can be used to harass or engage in unsolicited or non-consensual sexual conduct. Many times, a person engages in sexting by posting an intimate photograph that was intended only for the original recipient.
There are long-term and serious consequences for victims of sexual harassment or assault. An experienced attorney can help victims and their families seek justice and compensation from individual who engage in or allow their misbehavior.