Just as you have your own smile, your own humor, and your own personality - your boundaries are unique too. Creating emotional, physical and spiritual boundaries to respect your needs and comfortability is the key to sexual abuse prevention. Take a moment and think about your boundaries in life - What makes you uncomfortable? What makes you feel safe?
Once you understand what your own boundaries are, you will be able to communicate and uphold them throughout your journey to a safe and happy future.
We know upholding your boundaries can be challenging to do in real-life situations, so here are a few body safety tips that can give you ideas on how to ensure your boundaries are respected by others:
1. Consent is key!
Ideally, consent should envelop every area of your life - from friendships to family to relationships. We encourage you to always ask for consent before any type of touch such as a hug, kiss on the cheek or holding hands. It's also important to embrace your boundaries and voice the consent you give to others regarding your body and your personal space.
2. Make your comfort and sense of safety a priority.
It’s important to acknowledge that people might not ask you for consent, so a great way to keep your body safe is to communicate what you are comfortable or not comfortable with.
For example, if you notice someone is about to give you a hug you can step back and say you’re not a hugger. You can give alternatives you’re okay with such as a high five or fist bump!
3. Avoid being in private with adults or older teens who are not within your trust circle.
Always have a trusted adult or trusted friend with you to decrease your vulnerability to predators taking advantage of any time alone with you.
4. Digital boundaries are just as important as real-life ones!
A big part of our daily life takes place in the online world through social media and texting. Think about your communication style! Does texting make you feel more comfortable or do you prefer calling and FaceTiming? If someone is overwhelming your phone notifications, don’t be afraid to ask for a little space. If someone is bringing negativity into your social media life, you can always use the block and report tools to create a digital boundary.
If you’d like to learn more, check out our resources for teens under the Prevention Education tab on this site!