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 has 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.
Read the FAQ below for answers to some common questions about abuse -
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 i don't do as she says. i am covered in bruises. she says she is allowed to hit me as i am her child. is that true?
No that isn't true. 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?
No. 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 that 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?
Abuse can happen anywhere. But 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've heard that if you've been abused then you will become an abuser when you grow up. is that true?
This is not really true or false. Most of the time if you have been abused then you know how bad it feels and would not do that to someone else. Abusers choose what they do. They are clever and cunning about it and always try to hide it. They are in full control of their actions. Sometimes abusers have been abused but that doesn't explain or excuse what they do. Often abusers have not been abused.
my BOYFRIEND took a picture of me naked and threatened to put it on social media unless i had sex with him. i feel trapped and scared. what can i do?
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 porn? when i visit my aunt and uncle's house they put on porn films and ask me to watch it with them. is that OK?
No it's not OK. 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. This certainly sounds like abuse and you should think about talking to someone about it.
what if i deserved it?
You didn't. 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.
Eighteen And Under is a registered charity based in Dundee. Registration number SC026688