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Getting Help

We all have the right to draw a line that should not be crossed in our relationships. This page provides frequently asked questions and information if you think your line has been crossed.

What does dating violence look like?
  • Dating violence isn't an argument every once in a while, or a bad mood after a bad day.
  • Dating violence (or relationship abuse) is a pattern of violent behavior that someone uses against a girlfriend or boyfriend.
  • Dating violence doesn't have to be physical. It can include verbal and emotional abuse—constant insults, isolation from friends and family, name calling, controlling what someone wears—and it can also include sexual abuse.
  • Dating violence can occur at any age no matter what race or religion, no matter your education. Dating violence also occurs in same-sex relationships.

For more information on dating violence in Alaska go here

What does it mean to be "abusive"?
  • Many of us find relationships confusing at times. Sometimes we feel insecure or uncertain. It is considered abusive to hurt or control others through physical or sexual force.
  • It is also abuse to call your partner names, criticize, embarrass, taunt, threaten, or make others feel unsafe.
  • Relationships should give love, respect, nurturing and appreciation. Exposure to any kind of abuse for a long time can damage a person's physical and emotional health.

If you are unable to be a part of a healthy relationship and need help. Click Here.

When Should I talk to an adult?

There are some situations when you might want to get an adult involved. Find an adult that you can brainstorm with. Who do you think can help? Is it a parent, teacher, school counselor, coach, youth group leader, domestic violence and sexual assault program, or friend's parents?

  • I don't really want to get anyone in trouble, but I think people are getting hurt. A few of their friends have talked to them separately, but they just blow it off. I am afraid for both of them. I know it is time to talk to an adult.
  • My friend is controlling his girlfriend. He is jealous and insulting. I think she is getting hurt. I have tried to talk to my friend, but he just gets aggressive and won't listen to me. I know it is time to talk to an adult.
  • My friend will not get help, but she is at serious risk. She just nervously laughs when I talk to her about it and explains why she loves him. I don't know what to do so I am going to talk to an adult.
  • I know that he is embarrassed that his girlfriend is violent to him. I think it would embarrass him even more if I talk to him about the abuse. I think that maybe an adult could help in ways that I can't.
  • My friends are in a same sex relationship and it is violent. They are not out to the adults around us, I am not sure how to get them help.
  • I know that I need to talk to an adult, but I am not sure who. It helped me to think about what I needed help with and what I wanted them to be like. I had to find an adult that had my best interest at heart. I had to think about it but I found the right ally.
How do I end a relationship?
  • Communicate your reasons for ending the relationship clearly.
  • Do not break up with someone as a way of manipulating them or negotiating.
  • Give both of you the time and space to talk about your feelings.
  • Choose a public space to end the relationship. Try not to be isolated.
  • Make sure other people can hear you in case things get out of control quickly.
If the relationship is over, am I safe?

Just because a relationship is over does not mean you are safe.

  • Avoid isolated areas at school and don't walk home alone.
  • Stay away from situations that you could be confronted by your former partner.
  • Ask friends to get involved, stay nearby, and let someone know if there is any danger.
  • Let the adults around you know that you are at risk.
  • Know where to go when you need to be safe.
  • Keep hotlines and phone numbers for support nearby.
  • Create a Safety Plan click here for more information.

 

What I should I know about my sexual rights and responsibilities?
  • No means No. When you clearly say “No” to any sexual suggestion or advance, your partner should stop right away.
  • It is Sexual Abuse. If you said "No" to any kind of sexual contact it is sexual abuse.
  • It is your right to decide if you want to have sex. This is always true. Even if your partner has taken you out to dinner and bought you gifts; even if you know the person or are already in a relationship with them; even if you have already had sex with this person; even if you have already been fooling around with the person and either or both of you are aroused sexually.  You always have the right to decide if you want to have sex or say no.
  • It is NEVER the fault of the person who was sexually assaulted or abused. Sometimes a sexual assault victim is asked, "What were you wearing?  This implies that the victim or the victim’s actions are to blame for the assault.  This is never true!  Sexual assault or abuse is always the fault of the perpetrator who chooses that behavior.
  • It is a choice to sexually assault someone. When a couple is getting sexually heated up and one person wants to stop, the other has two options -- respect the partner's wishes or keep pushing. If they force their partner into any kind of sexual contact, it's sexual assault. And that's against the law.
  • You never have to do anything sexual you don't want to do. It doesn't matter how long you've been in a relationship with a person. It doesn't matter if you've already had sex.  If you don't want to do something, you have the right to say no. If your partner disrespects that limit and forces you, it's sexual assault.
I was sexually assaulted. I don't know what to do.
I was sexually assaulted. I don't know what to do.

If you were sexually assaulted, it is not your fault no matter what. Even if you started to be intimate with the person and you changed your mind. Even if you were drinking. No matter how you dress. No matter how well you know them. No matter if you are a male or female. The truth is…Anytime a person says “no“ to sexual contact and another person does not respect that and keeps going, without consent it is sexual assault. Sexual Assault is wrong, and it's against the law. Here's what you should to do:

  • Get to a safe place. After experiencing a traumatizing event such as sexual assault, it can be important to find a place where you feel comfortable and safe from harm. This location could be home, a friend’s house, local hospital or police station.
  • Reach out for support and tell someone else. It can be a friend, a family member, a teacher, an advocate, or another trusted adult.  Whoever you tell, this person can help you negotiate the next steps.  It is important to know that professionals such as teachers, counselors and medical providers are mandatory reporters and are required to report sexual or physical abuse of a minor to the police.
  • Call for assistance.
    • You can call your local domestic violence and sexual assault program for assistance.  Click here for toll free numbers.
    • You can also call 911 for immediate police assistance or protection.
    • If you feel comfortable, seek medical attention
      • To check for injuries; you may have injuries that you can't see or feel
      • To prevent sexually transmitted infections
      • To prevent pregnancy
      • To collect evidence Be sure to bring a trusted adult or guardian. If you are under 18, the law requires an adult to be present or give consent in order for you to receive collect evidence.
      • Preserve Evidence
        • For the purposes of evidence collection, it is suggested that you avoid:
          • Drinking
          • Eating
          • Showering
          • brushing your teeth
          • combing your hair
          • changing your clothes

* Even if you have done any of these things, evidence can still be collected.

  • Take care of your emotional and psychological health. You can talk with people who are trained in working with sexual violence survivors and connect with others who have been through something similar at any of Alaska’s local programs or the Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network. In addition to having really helpful resources on their website, they operate a 24-hour National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).


I was sexually assaulted, how do I get through this?
  • Remember your ABCs! You are not Alone, you are not to Blame, and you are not Crazy.
  • Take care of your physical health! Many people who are abused physically try to hide their injuries and will often fail to get medical attention. So, an injury caused by abuse may never properly heal and can get worse over time. That can lead to long-term health problems. So, get help now.
  • Take care of your emotional health! You may experience several side effects of being sexually assaulted. You might find that you are unable to sleep and have difficulty concentrating. You may feel nervous and jumpy and not really want to be around others. You may have emotional outbursts. Or you might have difficulty enjoying sex for some time. These and other side effects are totally normal.  Different people work through them in different ways, but you might need to talk to someone. Call these numbers for help.
Can guys be sexually assaulted too?
  • Yes.. Often when we think about sexual abuse, we automatically assume that the victim is female and the perpetrator is male. This is not always true. Men and women are both capable of sexually assaulting or sexually abusing another person.  Reporting sexual assault or sexual abuse is hard for anyone, but men often have a harder time finding support because of societal pressure and stereotypes.  Many people think that it’s impossible for a man to be sexually assaulted, leaving male survivors feeling like they have no one to turn to.
  • Just like a female survivor, male survivors have nothing to feel guilty about or ashamed of. Sexual assault is always the perpetrators fault.
  • All of Alaska’s local programs provide services to both male and female survivors.  There are also resources specifically for male survivors like the National Organization on Male Sexual Victimization.

Guys can also call the National Sexual Assault Hotline managed by the Rape Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN) at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Warning Signs

Early warning signs that your date may eventually become abusive:
  • PUT DOWNS
  • NEEDS TO CONTROL YOU
  • JEALOUSY
  • UNCONTROLLABLE ANGER
  • SUBSTANCE USE
  • DOESN'T WANT YOU TO HAVE FRIENDS OR SEE FAMILY
  • SEEMS VERY SENSITIVE AND MOODY
  • YOU FEEL LIKE YOU ARE WALKING ON EGGSHELLS
  • ALWAYS BLAMES OTHERS FOR HIS/HER PROBLEMS
  • IS CRUEL TO ANIMALS
  • ABUSED PREVIOUS BOYFRIENDS OR GIRLFRIENDS
  • VERBALLY ABUSIVE
  • THREATENS VIOLENCE
  • USES PHYSICAL FORCE
  • RIGID OR CONTROLLING SEXUAL ROLE

Stories

"My friend was in an abusive relationship. I told her she should think about ending it. He made all the decisions for her, told her she couldn't go out with her friends anymore. She couldn't be herself any more. I gave her a number to call to get help"

- Jennifer (17)

"When I was in high school, I found out my best friend was mistreating his girlfriend. I was friends with them both. Once, we were at a party and he was insulting her, embarassing her in front of other people. I let him know it wasn't the way to act. He was defensive, kind of aggressive. He didn't appreciate it. Later I talked to him one-on-one, and he told him that he needed to be a better boyfriend. He never treated her like that in front of me again."

Mick (16)

Know Your Legal Rights

As a teen in Alaska, you have both dating and sexual legal rights. READ MORE to know your rights.

What does it mean to you?