No! No! No!
I protect myself from sexual abuse
6 - 12
When we are little, we can be in love.
We may even want to get kisses!
When we become teenagers, we want to hold hands and cuddle.
You can love your parents, friends, and even your dog or cat deeply … but being in love is something else.
Being in love means that you are experiencing a very strong feeling for a specific person. You find this person more beautiful and more interesting than others. You think about this person very often, and when you see him/her, your heart starts beating faster.
Sometimes, love is mutual, and sometimes it’s not. When love is not mutual, you can feel sad for a while, but you will always get over it!
When we are older, we want to make love, because it’s very pleasing… as long as both people have as much envy as the other!
Making love is having sex with someone you love. It’s a way to share a very powerful moment between two people.
To make love:
- both people must want to;
- both people must feel desire for one another (when the person you love touches you, you feel a pleasant sensation);
- both people must feel ready to make love;
- in some countries, it is also necessary for the two people to have reached the age of legal consent.
To find out if you are ready to make love, you can try to talk about sex with your boyfriend/girlfriend, while looking him/her straight in the eyes. If you cannot do it, perhaps it is too early …
Sometimes you can feel that someone looks at you a lot, and is really interested in you.
It feels nice, especially if it’s a boy or a girl that you like!
It’s called seduction.
Seduction is a kind of game where one person seeks to spark an attraction and feelings in another person. You can seduce someone through gestures, words or through his/her appearance.
Some people feel very comfortable with seduction, others less comfortable.
Sometimes you can feel that someone older is looking at you a lot, and is really interested in you.
It could be the big brother or father of a friend, a neighbor…
It feels both enjoyable and annoying.
A grown-up experiencing physical, sexual desire for a child is called a pedophile.
A pedophile is a person who is sexually attracted to a person who has not reached puberty yet.
Pedophiles can be teenagers or adults, men or women.
Some are only attracted to children, others are attracted to children and also to teenagers or adults.
He/She can make you uncomfortable by watching you too often, trying to kiss you on the neck or trying to cuddle your back.
It is weird, and not pleasant!
By doing this, he/she does not respect your intimacy.
Intimacy is a personal space that you want to protect from the gaze and gestures of others.
The private parts of the body are the sex organs, the buttocks, and the chest for older girls. But it can also make you uncomfortable when someone touches your thighs, stomach or any other part of your body.
If someone wants to see your naked body, this can make you uncomfortable. This feeling is called modesty, and it is normal. It is the need to protect your nudity, to not want to show certain parts of your body.
Everyone must respect the privacy and modesty of others.
It bothers you and it’s even worse when it comes from someone you love and who you trusted.
When that person is a family member, it’s called incest.
It hurts, you feel cheated and ashamed for not seeing it coming.
Incest is having sexual desire for someone of your own family: a parent for their child, a brother, a sister, a grandparent, an uncle or an aunt.
Incestuous acts with minors are prohibited by law. Just because someone is a member of your family and loves you, that does not mean that he/she has the right to do sexual things with you.
Incest is sometimes difficult to recognize, especially when you have always suffered these acts, and it is often very difficult to talk about it, because it feels like we are accusing someone we love.
But you don’t have to be ashamed! He/she should be the one feeling ashamed!
All lover-type relationships between a child and an adolescent or an adult are prohibited by law!
It is very important to say: No! No! No!
The law is a set of rules that must be respected: do not kill, do not steal …
Laws protect people, animals or nature.
There are universal laws that apply to all people, such as the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which requires every person to respect and protect children. It prohibits, for example, anyone forcing a child to have sex.
The teenager or adult may try to manipulate you by working up your curiosity: don’t you want to know what it’s like to tongue-kiss?
No! No! No! Not with you!
Manipulating someone is pushing someone to accept or do something for your own pleasure.
The malicious manipulator will try to confuse your thoughts, so you won’t be able to know what is right and what is wrong anymore, what is for your own good and what pleases the manipulator.
If you feel compelled to do something but deep down you know it’s not good and it will hurt you, then do not do it.
Sometimes the teenager or the adult may try to show you pornographic images, that shock and excite you.
You may want to see, because you’re really curious… but you have to resist, because it would make you feel uncomfortable and it would hurt you.
It is sometimes very tempting to look at porn photos and videos.
It’s also easy to believe that people make love like that in real life.
In movies and TV series these are actors playing roles and simulating emotions. In porn, it’s the same. These are actors who pretend, who perform a sexual act for the camera, without pleasure, without tenderness, simulating their feelings. This is not love and this is not how people make love!
In real life, it takes time for people to show their nude bodies to anyone else, and it takes time before people caress and explore each other’s bodies. Making love is tender, nice and soft. The partners respect each other, talk, and exchange hugs and kisses.
Even if he/she swears it is not, what that person is trying to do with you is not called love, it is called a sexual offence. And it is forbidden.
Grown-ups know that, and they should never feel that they can do this to a child.
The law punishes sexual offenses, whether committed on children or adults.
For example, in France, it is forbidden:
to show sexual images to a child;
to make sexual gestures towards a child;
to touch children on the private parts of their body, even though they said they agree to it;
to force someone to do sexual things, including through the use of manipulation, intimidation or domination;
if you are age 15 or older, to have sex with someone younger than 15, even if they said they agree to it.
You should always, always, always share it with a trusted adult!
Even if someone made you promise to keep it a secret, even if that person threatens you or if he/she cries and begs you: you have to talk!
Sometimes, the person who touches children on their private parts, because they know it is forbidden, may ask the child to not tell anyone else.
You must learn the difference between good and bad secrets.
A good secret makes you happy (preparing a birthday party for a friend …) and helps preserve their privacy (secret garden); a bad secret makes you unhappy and isolated (to not say that someone hit you …)
Talking is really very difficult, it takes a lot of courage … but all children have that courage and so do you – I promise you!
Talking is the only way to stop the person that hurts you; you and perhaps other kids your age or younger.
It is sometimes hard to know whether a gesture is normal or is prohibited. If you feel deep down that a gesture made you uncomfortable, you should talk about it.
In order to speak, one must first know who to speak to. You can talk to someone you trust: a teacher, your parents, your uncle, a grandparent, a doctor, a police officer …
Sometimes some adults do not believe children, and sometimes they treat them like liars. Do not be discouraged. Talk to other adults, until you find one who believes you.
If you share it with adults who do not listen or do not react as they should, you can call the helpline of your country.
In almost every country in the world, there is a free phone number that you can use to talk to a trusted adult.
You can call to talk about something that happened to you, or about something that happened to a child you know and who needs help.
You can find your country’s child helpline on www.childhelplineinternational.org.
Sometimes adults pretend to be teenagers on the internet, and they do a very good job of faking how they talk and think.
They use false names and false pictures. Anyone would fall for it!
That’s why you should never give out personal information online.
The internet is great, it helps you to learn tons of stuffs!
It is also a place where we believe we are safe, because we are behind a screen. But unfortunately there are many people with bad intentions on the Internet and they are often hard to spot.
To avoid pitfalls, without the consent of your parents:
- never give your family name;
- never give your home address;
- never give the name of your school;
- never give your password;
- never send a picture or video of you or your friends;
- never turn on the webcam;
- avoid giving out your secrets, or revealing your privacy.
No one has the right to put a photo or video of you on the Internet without you first knowing about and agreeing to it.
No one has the right to blackmail you: “If you do not do what I ask, I will show everyone that picture of you, I will tell everyone what you told me …”
Laws also apply online. For example, to tell or show sexual things to a child is prohibited in the street, at home, and also on the internet!
Most people around you want the best for you, and will never hurt you.
But some people your age or older may try to take advantage of your inexperience by imposing their own desires on you.
If it happens to you, you should not be ashamed, they are the ones who should be ashamed!
You should say loud and clear, without hesitation: No! No! No!
Right, so when is it OK to say yes?
You can say yes when you agree, when you feel confident and when you really want to do so.
You can say yes when you feel respected, and when you feel free to say no at any time, if ever you feel uncomfortable because things are going too fast.
You can say yes when you are really happy to say yes.
This book is a gift from Association Une Vie.
Association Une Vie is committed to promoting respect between people, as well as encouraging fulfillment of individuals and their community. This includes providing awareness content to protect children from the risk of sexual abuse. To find out more, visit 1vie.org
Thanks to Eve Pilyser (clinical psychologist, Jungian psychoanalyst, member of the French Society of Analytical Psychology, member of the Association of the Jungian Psychoanalysts and Psychotherapists) and Cecile Miele (psychologist and sexologist at the resource center for those working with perpetrators of sexual violence (CRIAVS) and at the Hospital of Clermont-Ferrand).
Text: Sebastien Brochot. Illustration: Luc Desportes.
2016-2019 © Association Une Vie