Clarion, PA – Summer is a carefree time of the year, especially for teenagers out on summer break. But there can be a dark side to these carefree feelings.

Did you know that 1 in 5 women will be raped in her lifetime, and a third of those were assaulted between the ages of 11-17? It’s time we stand up for the young people in our lives and empower young people to protect themselves.

There is no sure-fire way to eliminate the chance that something may happen, but you are not powerless either. There are strategies that can help keep you and your loved ones safe:

1. If you’re a parent, talk to your teen about sexual violence and assault. Many parents fear bringing up issues regarding consent and sex can put ideas in a teen’s head, but rest assured that the rest of the world is already well ahead of you. You may not be able to control all of the messages your teen receives, but you can help them navigate this new, confusing landscape. These conversations are best started young and had frequently as your child ages and develops. If you’re unsure of how to have these conversations, PASSAGES, Inc. can help.

2. Know what consent is and what it looks like. Consent is about communication regarding sexual activity and it should happen every time you have sex. Giving consent once does not mean you’ve given consent for future encounters, nor does being in a relationship automatically mean you’ve consented. Consent can also be withdrawn at any time; if someone initially consents, but then expresses discomfort, you should back off. Consent best practice is “verbal and enthusiastic.” It’s not enough that someone doesn’t say “no;” be sure they are saying “yes.” Remember that someone under the influence of drugs or alcohol, or someone who is too young, cannot consent.

3. Be a good bystander. If you’re a teen, help keep your friends safe by learning how to intervene in a way that helps keep you safe and reflects your comfort level. You can do what you can to disrupt a potentially-dangerous situation (“This party is lame, want to have a sleepover at my house instead?”). If you think someone is in danger, ask them directly if they are okay and don’t be afraid to keep checking in. You can also enlist the help of bartenders, security guards, and even other people around you. It’s always appropriate to say, “Your friend looks like she has had a lot to drink. Can you check in on her?” And, as always, you can call 911 if you are really concerned.

PASSAGES, Inc. offers many programs designed to help parents and teens address these issues and more. To learn more about these prevention services, or to speak with a counselor, please contact PASSAGES at 1-800-793-3620 or visit us online at

Want more information for adults about sexual harassment and assault in the workplace? Listen to the full Contact Show, hosted by Joe Taylor and Brittany Madera, with guests Tia DeShong from Passages and Melissa Varischetti from Black and White Business Solutions.

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