Staying safe means looking after yourself and others. As we grow up, the way we think, feel and view the world changes. We are developing our identity, forming new kinds of relationships and trying different things. It’s a time when you feel free, daring and that nothing can hurt you, but there are things that can put you at risk and it’s good to know how to look after yourself.
Friends are really important but sometimes they can try to make us do things we don’t want to do or know we shouldn't do. If you are uncomfortable in a situation, trust your instincts and leave.
Shouting sexual comments or ‘cat calling’ someone is sexual harassment and a type of sexual abuse. Sadly, many girls and women experience this type of abuse daily. It can make them feel scared, angry, and sad. People shouldn’t be made to feel like this and it will only stop if we all stand up to this type of behaviour.
If you’re with a group of friends who are cat calling, it is easier not to say anything, but your silence tells others that cat calling is ok and makes you a ‘bystander’ - someone who watches but does nothing. Don’t be a bystander!
Alcohol and drugs
Many people use alcohol and other drugs for fun or to make them feel good. Drinking when you are young and your brain is still developing can be damaging. Sometimes alcohol and other drugs can make people aggressive, angry, and even violent, especially if they are using lots. It can also lead to poor decisions about sex and relationships. If you’re worried about your - or a friend’s - alcohol or drug use, talk to someone who can help.
Seeing or experiencing violence at home or from partners is really upsetting. Everyone has the right to feel safe and should never feel threatened or unsafe, especially in their own home (learn more about the importance of healthy relationships). Young persons with disabilities can be more risk of violent or exploitative relationships so it’s particularly important to take care. If you experience violence of any kind, get help to make sure you and other members of family are safe and to help you deal with the experience. Even during COVID-19 this support is available.