Be the Change: Identifying Sexual Abuse in Youth

From the #metoo movement to the heart wrenching testimony of sexual abuse perpetrated by Larry Nassar – the news lately has been filled with one story after another of things we wish we could have changed.  But how?

Early identification is key for young victims of sexual abuse. These victims have a higher incidence of inter-related risks and risk behaviors.  These risks may include: depression, disordered eating, drug or alcohol use, and other sexual health risks.

Young victims of sexual abuse need a safe place to disclose – and a trusted adult to disclose to. 

Yet, sexual abuse is an extremely difficult conversation to initiate with youth – even for the strongest of teen-parent relationships.  It is also an especially difficult conversation to broach for the affected youth who are struggling with fear, anger, and embarrassment.

Technology can help.  (It’s probably not a surprise that youth are engaged by technology!) Possibilities for Change (P4C) is a company founded by Dr. Salerno (the author of Teen Speak) that provides technology-based assessment and counseling solutions designed to help identify health risks and behaviors among youth and young adults.

Consider these findings from youth (aged 13-21 years) who used a P4C technology-based assessment and counseling system as part of a visit to a physician, care provider or professional.

  • 15% report being forced to participate in unwanted sexual activity.
  • 18% have been in an abusive relationship within the last year.
  • 23% have had sex with partners who refused to use birth control.
  • 16% have bartered sex for a place to stay, substance use, money, or something else.

Communication strategies can also help bridge the gap between parents and youth.  Research and practical experience has shown us that parents can engage their son or daughter in a meaningful conversation on even the most difficult of topics using these proven communication techniques.

Teen Speak was founded with a single mission.  We help parents learn communication techniques and better connect with their teens to identify and prevent risky behaviors. From sexual identifying abuse to preventing risky sexual activities like unprotected sex, we provide parents with concrete strategies to confidently connect with their teens.

Take the first step in keeping your teen safe at

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