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  Home  > Personal Wellness  > Sexual Abuse

Sexual Abuse

Today, sexual abuse is a major problem in North America. It results in demoralization, depression, repression, loss of belief in the ability to protect oneself, and fear of people. The most common age at which sexual abuse begins is three. Heterosexual males commit the vast majority of sexual abuse. Nearly 90 percent of sexual abuse is committed by someone the child knows, not by a stranger.

Many boys grow up thinking that ignoring no - especially from a female - is an expression of their strength and manliness. Many girls and young women were taught to be nice, rather than honest, toward males - which essentially leads them to decide that it's better to be hurt by a male than be perceived of as unfeminine by the male who seeks to take advantage of you.

Many women are reluctant to appear rude because they fear they'll cause someone to be angry. In the context of being approached by a stranger in a public situation, the anger you may cause will rarely be a step toward violence. Indeed, if you are perceived as a rude woman, you are a far less attractive target than a polite woman.

Maintaining sovereignty over our bodies requires that we be wary of anyone, male or female, especially a stranger, who ignores the word no. If we are to maintain the integrity of our body and soul, we need to care less about protocol and politeness, and to practice until we are comfortable saying and doing what needs to be said and done.*

Understand that when a man in our culture says no it's usually the end of a discussion, but when a woman says no it's the beginning of a negotiation. —Gavin de Becker, Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (And Parents Sane)

If young men learn how to hear no, and young women learn that it's all right to explicitly reject, then acts of violence to the integrity and sovereignty of the body will dramatically decline and our sexual wellness will be enhanced.


* For a thorough treatment of this topic, see DeBecker, G., Protecting the Gift: Keeping Children and Teenagers Safe (and Parents Sane) (Dell, 2001).




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