Issues that Affect Teens

 

Bullying

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that often involves a power imbalance. Bullying can be verbal, including taunting, teasing and threats. It can be physical acts like hitting, kicking, and taking or breaking someone’s belongings. Or it can be social behaviors like leaving someone out on purpose, spreading rumors, or telling others not to be someone’s friend.

Bullying can occur during or after school hours. While most reported bullying happens in school, bullying can also happen in places like the playground, bus or outside of school. It also happens online, also called cyberbullying. For more about cyberbullying visit CYBERBULLYING.ORG

The kids who are bullied and the kids who bully others may have serious and long lasting problems. You can talk with an adult you trust at home or at school about bullying. Your school is responsible for helping protect you and others from bullying and responding when it is reported. In the case that nothing happens, continue to document incidents of bullying. Learn more about the steps a school must take to address bullying at BULLY FREE NEW HAMPSHIRE.

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Dating Violence

Did you know that 1 in 3 teens in the United States are affected by dating violence? Teen dating violence is defined as the physical, sexual, psychological or emotional violence within a dating relationship and includes stalking. This can occur in person or electronically and can take place in current relationships or with former dating partners.

 

So often, when we think of abusive relationships, we imagine someone (typically, female) with a black eye or other physical injuries. Dating violence is not, in fact, all violent. Dating violence can be any physically, sexually, psychologically or emotionally abusive behaviors (or any combination thereof). Meaning, behaviors like controlling what you wear, calling you names or putting you down, and even constant check-ins qualify as abuse, not just physical assault. In addition, LGBTQ teens are at a higher risk of experiencing dating violence. Check out this short quiz to see where your relationship falls on the spectrum.

 

Warning signs, also called red flags, of an abusive partner or relationship may include, but are definitely not limited to:

  • Extreme jealousy or possessiveness

  • Attempts to limit interactions or communications with friends and family

  • Embarrassment such as putdowns or name calling

  • Being critical of partner's physical appearance and controlling what they wear

  • Threats of harm to the partner

  • Mood swings, unpredictable or explosive temper

  • Checking partner's cell phone, email, or social media without their permission

  • Excessive check-ins and inquiries about what the partner is doing and who they are with

  • Breaking partner’s belongings or damaging their property

 

If you are experiencing any of these, TPN is here to help. A partner who loves and cares for you should never act out in dangerous, controlling, or violent ways.

 

It’s possible that you, a friend or a family member is a victim or survivor of abuse, assault, harassment or other acts. You can get help! Call TPN’s 24-hour crisis hotline. 1-800-639-3130

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Sexual Assault

Sexual assault can happen to anyone: people of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and other differences. It can be violent and happen by force, but often times manipulation and coercion is used. While precise legal definitions vary from state to state, sexual assault is a term commonly used to mean non-consensual sexual contact or intercourse.

By definition, sexual coercion or manipulation is the act of using pressure, alcohol or drugs, or force to have sexual contact with someone who has already refused. (Manipulation does not involve overtly aggressive behaviors like threats or bullying although manipulative people may do these things at times.)  

 

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Childhood Sexual Abuse (CSA)

Statistics show us that 1 in 10 children will experience sexual abuse by the time they reach their 18th birthday. A child under 16 years old is never able to consent to any kind of sexual activity, period. Child sexual abuse can also happen without any physical contact between the perpetrator and a child. For example, an adult exposes their genitals to a child or shows them sexually explicit photographs. When an adult engages with a child in these ways, they are committing a crime that can have lasting effects on the victim. The emotional impact of these acts on the child can include, but are not limited to:

  • Doubt/Disbelief: “Did this really happen? Am I imagining this? Am I exaggerating or reading into it?”

  • Shock: “I feel so numb. Why am I so calm? Why can’t I cry?”

  • Guilt: “Maybe this is my fault. If only I had…”

  • Anxiety: “I’m a nervous wreck!” (Anxiety is often expressed in physical symptoms like difficulty breathing, muscle tension, sleep disturbances, change in eating habits, nausea, etc.)

  • Powerlessness: “Will I ever feel in control again? Maybe this is just how life is. Maybe I’m blowing it out of proportion.”

  • Shame/Embarrassment: “It’s embarrassing to even think about it. How could I ever talk about it. I don’t think I can do it.”

  • Fear: Of not being believed, the process of telling, friends and family finding out, and the perpetrator.

 

Other forms of child sexual abuse include: fondling; sex of any kind; obscene text messages, phone calls or online interactions; exposing a child to sexual images or videos; masturbation in front of a minor.

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Consent

So, what is all this talk about consent? Well, it’s EVERYTHING! Most teens who interact with Turning Points Network describe consent as “permission” or offer the terms “no means no” or “yes means yes” as substitutes for what consent might sound like.

In a healthy relationship, it is important to talk with your partner about personal boundaries and discuss what each of you is comfortable with. When it comes to sex or other sexual activity, it’s important to ask for consent, or the “go ahead,” every time. Whether it’s the first time or the twentieth time, it’s always necessary to get consent. It’s never okay to assume consent.

Consent isn’t only about spoken words, though; your body language can speak for itself. If your partner says “yes,” but their body language is telling you that they are apprehensive, on edge, uncomfortable, uninterested or scared, then stop and talk about it. If they are still saying yes, but seem uneasy, then STOP. There is no room for coercion, manipulation, or force in healthy relationships or hookups.

In New Hampshire, the legal age of consent is 16 years old. Additionally, the presence of drugs or alcohol can leave a person unable to give consent. Meaning, sexual activity of any kind is not okay if a person is under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Other important things to consider about consent is that a person is allowed to change their mind. A person can stop an activity at any time, even if they previously agreed to it. And, just because someone consented to an activity before, doesn’t mean they have automatically given consent for those activities, or others, in the future. So talk about it! Ask for and give consent each time! Above all, it’s considerate and respectful.

 

Sexting

What is Sexting anyway?

Well, it's sending or forwarding nude,  explicit, or sexually suggestive pictures/messages on your phone or online.

But, like why is that a big deal? 

Imagine, what would happen if your picture went viral...

...and your friends, classmates, parents, and teachers saw it?!

That sounds embarrassing. But that's all that would happen? Right?!

Actually, sending sexual images of, or to, someone under the age of 18 is CHILD PORNOGRAPHY.

WHAT?!! 

YEAH...

AND the "revenge porn" law criminalizes the sending of explicit photos and videos.

AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!

Sexting can impact your future employment, college acceptance, military recruitment, and your reputation.

Uh oh....

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If you or someone you know needs help or support
Call us at: 1-800-639-3130