Providing a Catholic framework on the truth and meaning of sexuality, love, and family

Safeguarding a Child’s Dignity and Innocence

What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse is any actions or words directed at you by an older teen or adult that uses or harms your body or degrades your sexual purity. Because you are created in the image of God, you are deserving of being treated with the respect of all others in their words and actions.

Your body is a gift!
God has designed your body in an awesome way to be able to express love intimately someday with your husband or wife and perhaps to co-create with God a family of your own. This incredible gift of sexuality is meant to be reverenced by others in the way they relate to you. Sexual abuse may be any words spoken to you or actions directed at you that don’t reverence the gift of your sexuality.

What is real love?
An older teen or adult may tell you they love you and care for you. If the other person really loved you they would respect and reverence your body and your person by practicing the virtue of chastity. Chastity means that the person practices self-control in their thoughts, their words, and their actions toward you. This means that the person would do only what’s in your best interest and do nothing to harm you. If you feel used in any way then this is not real love.

What should you do if you think you have been abused?
If you feel you have been used or abused sexually or in any other way, it is so important that you talk to an adult you trust: a parent, a grandparent, an adult family member, a teacher, or a youth minister. Even if you think you did something to cause the other person’s actions or words, it is important to tell someone who cares about you so they can help you to be safe and help you understand feelings that are confusing.

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