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To Sam

am I a bad person?

hi sam, i was groped by a man that i did mot know a long time ago, and this has made it extremely hard to want to be touched by anyone in a certain way. theres this guy who likes me, and wants to do things with me, and i wanted to aswell, but now im not so sure. when lockdown is over i will be seeing him twice a week in classes, and im scared that ive lead him on too much, is that bad? thank you <333

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

Sexual abuse doesn't just affect someone at the time it happens. It can have a long-term impact. Sometimes the person who was abused doesn't realise it's a problem until much later, when a situation might trigger those thoughts and feelings again. It's important to get help for these feelings because they don't always go away on their own.

It's common when someone’s been hurt that they then have an automatic reaction to similar things in the future. If someone is burned on a hot stove, the next couple of times they use the cooker they might automatically feel anxious. How you’re feeling after what happened to you isn't your fault, it's a natural way of coping. It might help you to get some therapy for what happened - you can talk to your GP to help arrange this.

When it comes to sex and relationships, it's important to remember that you can say no to anything you are not comfortable with. It doesn’t matter what has happened before or what your relationship is with the person – you can always change your mind.

Consent is when someone says it's okay to do something with them. When you were groped you didn't give consent which is what makes it abuse. If the guy you like is worth being with, they’ll respect your feelings. Trying to push you into sex is never okay.

Talking to him about how you’re feeling is could help you both move forward. If you want to be in a relationship with him then you need to decide if you can trust him. If you feel comfortable sharing your experiences with him then this could be a good first step to trusting him. But there's no rush - it's always better to go at your own pace.

So long as you are being honest and open with your intentions then you can't be leading someone on - and changing your mind later doesn't mean you led him on either. It's always okay to change your mind and this doesn't make you a bad person.

I hope this letter helps, but if you need to talk more you can always talk to a Childline counsellor about how you’re feeling, or get support from other young people by posting on Childline’s message boards.

Thanks for writing to me, take care.

Sam

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