Sexuality - Sexual harassment and abuse






Sexual harassment and abuse have always been in existence, but have gotten a lot of exposure especially over the past few years. Sexual harassment includes almost all unwanted and unsolicited sexual advances, talk, and behavior. Sexual abuse includes all levels of sexual contact against anyone's will. Sexual abuse may include, but is not limited to, inappropriate touching or kissing, incest (sexual relations between closely related people), rape, and date rape. A perpetrator's motives for victimizing another are usually based around issues of power; the power is derived by having another person at his or her mercy, sexually or verbally. Sexual abuse and harassment can happen anywhere and at almost anyone's hands, from peers to a trusted adult to a total stranger.

ROHYPNOL: THE "DATE RAPE DRUG"

Date rape, or acquaintance rape, is forced sexual intercourse between a person and someone she or he is acquainted with, is friends with, or is dating. That is, it occurs with someone the person knows, not a complete stranger. Often times, date rapes go unreported because it is hard for people to think that someone they know—or are even dating—would intentionally hurt them, even if they have not given consent to have sex. Rape, whether committed by an acquaintance or stranger, is a crime and should be reported to the police regardless of how well the two parties know one another.

Sometimes a date rape might occur but the victim has no memory of it. She may know that something has happened to her, or feel violated in some way, but not have a clear memory of the events. In these instances, Rohypnol, the socalled "date rape drug," may have been given to the person without her knowledge.

Rohypnol (pronounced row-hip-nole) is a powerful tranquilizer that is illegal in United States. (Outside of the United States, Rohypnol is prescribed for the treatment of sleep disorders.) The drug produces sedative (calming, tranquilizing) effects such as amnesia (loss of memory) and muscle relaxation, and the effects can last up to eight hours. Rohypnol, nicknamed "roofies" or "ruffies," has gotten the reputation as a date rape drug in recent years because of its reported use among victims of date rape who were rendered helpless—and thus not able to consent to sexual relations—under its effects.

Not all uses of Rohypnol are without the user's consent, however. According to the Teen Challenge World Wide Network, "Rohypnol use appears to be spreading in the United States among high school and college youth" to enhance the feeling of drunkenness when mixed with beer or alcohol. Whether taken intentionally, or having it "slipped" to someone without his or her knowledge, Rohypnol is a dangerous, illegal drug that renders one out of control of one's own body.

Many people that are being harassed or abused are sometimes afraid to admit it. There are a lot of reasons for this. Sometimes the person harassing another threatens the victim, forcing him or her to promise not to tell anyone else, or threatens to harm the victim's family or that the victim might lose a job or favor with the perpetrator. Sometimes people are afraid that they are responsible for what has happened to them, so they want to keep it a secret. Young people are often manipulated into thinking that they will get into trouble if they tell an adult about the situation.

If anyone, an adult or another teen or child, touches anyone else inappropriately or threatens another person sexually, one should immediately tell a trusted adult or law-enforcement professional. Sometimes, the abuser or perpetrator is someone that, in normal situations, should be trusted. In this case, it is often hard to speak up, especially if that person is a classmate, a boss, or even a family member. If a victim is scared that he or she won't be believed, a neutral party should be consulted (a guidance counselor, a neighbor, a friend's mother or father) so that they can act on the victim's behalf.

The only way to stop abuse and harassment is to expose it.

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