Abuse can happen to anyone and it is never your fault. It can include bullying, neglect, put downs, name calling, controlling what you do, rape, sharing intimate images of you and many more things. If you are not sure if what is happening to you is abuse, or not, you can talk to someone at 18u about it.

No one had any right to hurt, frighten or abuse you in any way, no matter who they are, and you have every right to get help. If you are able to talk to someone about what has happened, you may be better able to deal with your feelings, know what to do, or get help to stop the abuse.

Abuse can make you feel really bad about yourself and sometimes you might think that you are to blame for what has happened to you, but no one is ever to blame for the actions of other people.

The sooner you can talk about what is going on for you, the sooner you can get help to think through what you might be able to do about it. You don’t have to be alone with this.

My step dad looks at me funny and keeps rubbing against me. I feel really uncomfortable but he hasn’t really done anything. It’s not really abuse is it?

Yes, this is abuse. Your step dad is in a position of power and trust and he should not be behaving like this. If you can, tell your mum and get her help to make him stop. If you feel you can’t tell your mum, talk to a friend or a relative or someone at 18u.

My mum hits me when I am cheeky or don’t do as she says. I am always covered in bruises. She says she’s allowed to as I’m hers.

Your mum does not own you and she has no right to hit you or hurt you. Is there a friend or a relative you can talk to? If not, you can talk to someone at 18u.

Is it only strangers or sick people who abuse children and young people?

Most abusers are not two headed monsters, or sick or even strangers. Anyone who has more power than you, can be an abuser. Sometimes abusers are really nice people that you know and trust.

Is it only certain kinds of people get abused?

No! Unfortunately abuse can happen to anyone. Abusers often befriend their victims and make them feel special before gradually going on to abuse them.

Where does abuse happen?

Most abuse happens at home, or in the home of the abuser.

Why don’t young people just tell on the abuser?

It is very hard to tell about abuse because often the abuser is someone that you have grown to need and love. If you love someone you don’t want them in trouble. Sometimes too, the abuser has made threats, blamed the young person or made them feel to ashamed or scared to tell anyone.

I heard that if you have been abused then you will become an abuser when you grow up?

This is simply not true. If you have been abused then you know how bad it feels and would not do that to someone else. Abusers chose what they do. They are clever and cunning about it and always try to hide it. They are in full control of their actions.

My boyfriend took a picture of me naked and threatened to put it on Instagram unless I had sex with him. I had to do it to stop him, but he still has the picture. What can I do? I feel trapped.

This is abuse. If you feel you cannot stand up to him, talk to a friend or relative or someone at 18u and get some help with this. He will continue to behave like this until you stand up to him, but you may need help to do this.

Can it be abuse to watch sex movies? I don’t want to watch them but when I’m in my aunt and uncle’s house at the weekend they always make me sit between them and watch them.

No child or young person should be made to watch any movie they don’t want to, and certainly not a movie intended for adults. Yes this certainly sounds like abuse and you should think about talking to someone about it.

What if I deserved it?

No one ever deserves to be abused. Sometimes abusers say that but it’s not true.

Is it only girls that get sexually abused?

No, boys can be sexually abused too.