Sexual Health Through Education
Your body belongs to you. No one – including relatives, friends, people in charge of you or strangers – has the right to touch your body against your wishes.
Feeling sexually attracted to other people is healthy and natural. But it’s not okay to touch or kiss someone unless they agree to it (provide consent). Touching someone in a sexual way without their consent is called sexual assault. It’s also not okay to tease people in a sexual way. This is called sexual harassment. When an adult touches a child in a sexual way or makes a child touch them this is called sexual abuse. These behaviours are types of abuse and they are against the law.
If anything like this happens to you, don’t keep it a secret! Tell a parent/guardian, counsellor or another adult you trust. Sometimes people who have been sexually assaulted or harassed feel embarrassed, ashamed or even guilty about what has happened. These feelings are common, but when someone hurts you in this way, it is not your fault! Sometimes a person who has hurt you is someone close to you or someone with power or authority over you. This may feel very confusing and you might find it very hard to tell anyone, but it’s important that you do.
Many people who have been sexually assaulted or harassed say that keeping it a secret only made them feel worse. By telling, you can get the help you need.
Using the internet, cell phones and online gaming can be fun and cool! To make sure it’s safe, here are some tips:
When teasing becomes hurtful, unkind, and constant, it crosses the line into bullying. Bullying can be verbal, physical or mental. Some kids bully by shunning others (ignoring/leaving them out) or spreading rumours about them. Others use email, chat rooms, instant messages, social networking websites, and text messages to taunt others or hurt their feelings. If you are feeling bullied, talk to a parent/guardian, teacher, or another adult you trust to get help.
If you see someone being bullied you can make a difference by telling a bully to stop, and asking the person being bullied if they are ok. If this doesn’t feel safe, tell an adult you trust.
The information contained in this section of the site is from the booklet Growing Up Okay!
Reprinted with permission from Healthy Child Manitoba Office, 2013.