Module 7: If it Happens to You
If you’ve been sexually exploited online, remember that it is not your fault. There are options for what to do if this happens to you.
Tell an adult that you trust
- This does not have to be a parent, but it should be someone that you know well and you believe to be a safe person. It can be a teacher, a friend’s parent, a guidance counselor, anyone that you feel comfortable disclosing to. However, which ever adult you tell does have a duty to report to ensure you’re kept safe (Module 9 goes more in depth into what this means)
- You can report through CyberTip. This website will give you options and steps to take that best suit your situation
- Contact your local law enforcement. They will be able to walk you through the steps moving forward once a report has been made.
- Report the images or videos you think are being shared to the service where you believe they may be being distributed (Facebook, SnapChat, Instagram, etc). Click here to see how to report on different platforms.
- Speak with a counsellor or someone who can help you process the complex emotions that you may be feeling. The people who love you should want to support you through this, but an outside person (such as a counsellor) is an unbiased individual who you can tell everything to in confidence without the worry of how it may make them feel.
If it happens to someone you know and love
- Be supportive if someone you know comes to you with this information. Ask what they need in the moment and move forward. Try to think about if you were in this situation how you would want to be treated.
- Listen non-judgmentally, don’t blame, and be sure to keep a neutral facial expression. It’s natural for a lot of feelings to come up, particularly for parents and caregivers, if this kind of disclosure is made. While your feelings are valid, please remember that it is about the young person who came to you. Honour your feelings, but don’t let them overshadow the young person who confides in you. They’re talking to you for a reason.
- Choose your words wisely. This young person did not distribute sexually explicit materials. They were manipulated and groomed into sending child sexual abuse material. When we say the words “Child Pornography” it implies that, much like adult pornography, there was some element of choice involved. While it may seem like the young person “chose” to send the sexually explicit material, an individual under 18 cannot legally make that choice and consent.
- For more information about consent and the steps to take if a disclosure is made by a young person, please visit Module 9: The law and duty to report.
- Watch the following CASEY Video
- What is the average age when sexual exploitation begins?
- What are some reasons sexual exploitation occurs?
- Who is most at risk?
- What are some signs that a youth may be exploited?