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Coercion and Sexual Abuse of Teens

Many teenagers face some form of sexual coercion, whether through peer pressure, or actually believing lines like "Don't you love me?" that they may hear from their boyfriend or girlfriend. Unfortunately, this pressure can take a more dramatic turn in the form of "date rape", an increasing problem. It's important for you as a parent to make sure your teenager is fully aware of the risks they face and that NOBODY has the right to force them into anything they are uncomfortable with.

How can a parent help their child or teen deal with coercion and sexual abuse?

As a parent, you need to help your child or teen understand what sexual abuse / coercion is and how they can protect themselves. Here are a few pointers:

  • Don't just say be careful. Be specific, and give them examples.
  • Don't just warn them about strangers, since offenders are often known to the child.
  • Use proper names for sexual body parts. If your child can talk to adults more effectively, they are more likely to be taken seriously.
  • Be sure they understand the difference between good and bad touches and that they always have the right to say NO to any touch they're uncomfortable with.
  • Encourage your child to tell you about any incidents, stressing the fact that you will always believe them.
  • Teach them to be "street smart" by, for example, making sure they know their address and home or work phone numbers, or using a family code word.
  • Make sure they understand that even "nice" people, friends, or relatives can coerce them into dangerous situations.

It is important to note that the victim is not at fault; assault is generally more about anger and/or power over others rather than sex, and it may also be about sexual desire and attraction using power. Many are at risk, and most assailants are not strangers to their victims.


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next: Sexual Communication: Talking to Your Parents About Sex

APA Reference
Writer, H. (2008, December 22). Coercion and Sexual Abuse of Teens, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, September 21 from https://www.healthyplace.com/sex/psychology-of-sex/coercion-and-sexual-abuse-of-teens

Last Updated: August 18, 2014

Medically reviewed by Harry Croft, MD

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