How does abuse mess you up?

Advice center for girls and boys to protect against sexual violence

Sexual abuse

Here are some examples of what sexual abuse means:

  • An adult or adolescent persuades or forces a child to kiss them or to look at or touch the penis or vagina
  • An adult or adolescent person tries to touch or kiss a child anywhere (over or under clothing)
  • Men, women or young people show a child photos, films or pages on the Internet with naked people - pictures that have to do with sex and violence.
  • Someone wants to take pictures or film or cell phone recordings of a naked child.

All of this is not okay!

If this happens to you, you are not alone in it. Many children, girls and boys are sexually abused, mostly by adults or older adolescents who they know or even love. It can be a neighbor, the leader of a youth group, it can also be a teacher, an uncle, a grandpa, a cousin, an older brother or even the father, the mother's friend. Sometimes women abuse children too.

If you have experienced sexual abuse, no matter how you acted, it is never your own fault. Even if you have accepted gifts, for example. The adult or young person is always to blame. Nobody has the right to touch you if you don't want to - especially not your buttocks, your vagina, your penis, your chest. Nobody has the right to kiss you if you don't want to.
No person should force or persuade you to touch, stroke, or kiss them.

If someone touches you strangely, tells you unpleasant things, shows you disgusting pictures or wants to take a picture of you against your will, then you can say “No”, “I don't want that”, be rude and cheeky, romp, scream and run away.
If you can say no and defend yourself, that's great. We know, however, that it is often very difficult to say no or that adults do not even listen to the no. In any case, you should tell someone you trust about your experience.
Maybe you promised not to talk about it because it was a secret, or someone threatened you that something bad would happen if you did talk about it. Nevertheless: You are allowed to talk about secrets that cause you grief or fear, that depress you or confuse you, about such "secrets".