Adolescent abuse

Sexual abuse is a sexual act between an adult and a child (any person younger than 17 years of age that is not the spouse of the abuser). It is when an adult engages in sexual contact with a child with the intent to arose or gratify the sexual desire of the adult. Sexual abuse includes a range of activities from showing pornographic images to forced sex. Remember that not all abusers are male, some can be female. For more information or to report an abuse situation call the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) hotline at 1-800 656-HOPE.

If you know of a teen that may be in this situation, offer unconditional support, and make sure they know that you are there to listen to them and support them no matter what happens.  If they disclose a situation of abuse, call or report it to the Texas Abuse Hotline at 1-800-252-5400, or report the incident online.

Let your teen know that you are concerned for their safety.  Say things like: “You deserve to be in a relationship where you are treated with respect.” and “This is not your fault.”  Help teens identify the unhealthy behaviors and patterns in their relationship, and the difference between an abusive relationship and a healthy one.