Sometimes, people might want to take advantage of you and they might ask you to do sexual things when you don't want to. This is a form of child sexual exploitation (CSE) and it’s not okay. It is a form of abuse and you have the right to be safe from it.
Signs to look out for
At first, you may like, respect, or even think you are falling in love with the person exploiting you. This is a process called grooming, which involves making you feel ‘special’ so that you become attached or close to this person.
Later the behaviour of the abuser will start to change little by little. By this point, you may feel trapped, isolated and scared. You may find it difficult to acknowledge that you no longer feel safe in the relationship.
Here are some of the messages from local young people who have been sexually exploited:
- don’t hang around with people who you aren’t willing to take home
- keep safe online - don’t share personal information or meet up with anyone you don't know in real life
- speak to teachers or someone you trust
- if you feel someone is not safe, tell someone – trust your instincts as you are almost certainly right
- look out for your friends – many young people who are being abused think they’re in a normal ‘loving’ relationship and will not ask for help
How to get help
To find out more about sexual abuse and exploitation, and how to find help or report an emergency, please see the Bernardo's website.