Info for Teens

Rape is a violent sexual act committed against a person’s will.

  • Rape is not sex. Rape is an expression of power and control in which a person uses a sexual act as a means of violence.
  • Rape victims belong to both sexes, all races and ethnic groups, all economic backgrounds, and all ages.
  • Acquaintance rape is forced, unwanted sexual contact between a person and a known assailant.
  • Adolescent women are at a higher risk for sexual violence than any other age group. Part of the reason for this is the large number date/acquaintance rapes that occur at this age.


What to do if a friend tells you she/he has been raped:

  • Believe what your friend tells you;

  • Accept what you hear without judgment;

  • Listen actively and openly;

  • Reinforce that the rape was not your friend’s fault;

  • Be sincere;

  • Be there for your friend when she/he needs you;

  • Look for opportunities to point out your friend’s strengths and positive aspects;

  • Ask open-ended questions to allow your friend to talk it out;

  • Suggest calling a Rape Crisis Center;

  • Accept your friend’s decisions in dealing with the rape;

  • Be aware of your limitations;

  • Be careful not to play a role that is not natural to you;

  • Try not to tell your friend what to do;

  • Silence is okay;

  • Be aware that your friend may direct negative feelings toward you;

  • Do not argue with your friend;

  • Know that you cannot "cure" your friend;

  • Say "I’m sorry that this happened to you;"

  • Do not compare the situation to "worse" ones you know, and;

  • Validate your friend’s feelings.



  • 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually assaulted before the age of 18 (Russel, D. 1988. The Incidence and Prevalence of Sexual Abuse of Female Children.)

  • The risk of rape is 4 times higher among women aged 15 to 24 (Harlow, 1991).

  • 38% of all date rape victims are females between the ages of 14 and 17 (Bart, P. A. and P. H. O’Brien. 1985. Stopping Rape. New York: Pergamon Press, pg. 131.)

  • 92% of adolescent rape victims know the assailant (National Center for the Prevention and Control of Rape. 1984. Newsweek, April 9.)

  • 57% of all rapes occur in the context of a date (Koss, Woodruff, Koss study, 1990)


Common feelings felt by rape survivors:

  • Fear
  • Guilt
  • Loss of control
  • Embarrassment
  • Anxiety, shaking, nightmares
  • Concern for the rapist
  • Wondering--Why me?
  • Shame
  • Anger
Every survivor of sexual assault reacts differently.

What to do if you are the victim of sexual violence:


Contact a friend, relative, neighbor, teacher, counselor, etc. Do not feel alone; there are people who can give you the emotional support you need.


Report the attack to the police whether or not you plan to file charges. Rarely do rapists attack only one person; they may get away with it and continue to rape.


Seek medical attention. Do not shower or clean up first. As soon as possible, go to a hospital or health center. Get examined and treated for possible venereal disease and pregnancy. You may also have internal injuries of which you are unaware.


Contact your local sexual assault services. You have been through a traumatic event and will benefit from dealing with your feelings. Survivors who get counseling recover from the attack quicker and with fewer lasting effects than survivors who get no help.