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Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is a serious issue that youth unfortunately experience in many ways. It includes any unwanted sexual attention, contact, or activity. Sexual violence can violate a young person’s trust, safety, and sense of identity. Unwanted sexual attention can also occur when individuals are drunk, high, or unconscious. Offenders intentionally inflict sexual violence, and are entirely responsible for their actions.

  • Sexual violence can happen to anyone, anywhere. 1 in 2 transgender youth, 1 in 4 girls, and 1 in 6 boys experience sexual violence as youth.
  • Sexual violence between peers is most likely to occur at school, where many adults think youth are most safe. In fact, 44% of youth survivors are assaulted by a peer. Youth survivors of sexual violence experience many negative outcomes, and do not often know where to turn for help.
  • Only 1 in 7 youth survivors of sexual violence seek help from professionals---1 in 2 teens will tell a friend first. Many young people don’t know who to trust.
  • Survivors of sexual violence can experience dangerous risks. Adolescents who experience sexual abuse are 2 times as likely to contract an STI than adolscents in general, and are 6 times more likely to get pregnant or get someone pregnant.

It is common for survivors to use alcohol and drugs to cope with trauma after rape. If you notice that a youth in your organization is coming to the program hungover or drunk, there is often an underlying issue. Do not be judgmental. Survivors of sexual violence can be retraumatized by shame. Try to connect teens to the help they need with resources that are understanding of trauma-related issues.

Download the BE SAFE Sexual Violence Fact Sheet (PDF) to learn more

Hotlines

Boston Area Rape Crisis Center Hotline:
1-800-841-8371
Spanish: 1-800-223-5001

Anonymous, free hotline available 24/7 for survivors of sexual violence, their friends, family, significant others, and providers.  Hotline counselors help survivors in the moment through grounding exercises, creating safety plans, educating callers about available services, and offering a caring and supportive space to talk about the impact of sexual violence in their lives. 

Services:

  • Boston Area Rape Crisis Center
    Provides free and confidential accompaniment to a hospital for a rape exam, individual, family, and group counseling, legal advice, and case management services. For an appointment you can call the office or fill out an on-line request form. Make an appointment
  • My Life My Choice
    The My Life My Choice Project ("MLMC") works with adolescent girls at risk for commercial sexual exploitation by providing a unique continuum of prevention, victim identification, and intervention services. MLMC offers provider training, prevention groups, case coordination, and survivor mentoring to victims of exploitation.
  • Mentors in Violence Prevention 
    Mentors in Violence Prevention (MVP) is a leadership program that motivates both men and women to play a central role in solving problems that historically have been considered “women’s issues:” rape, battery, and sexual harassment.

Learn More

Posters and Materials