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Wayne Post
  • LETTER: Help teens prepare for prom-night pressures

  • Effective communication before prom is essential to making sure teen is safe on the big night.

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  • Spring has arrived, and prom season is right around the corner. While it’s easy to get swept up in buying dresses, renting tuxedos, and picking out corsages, parents should also take the time to talk to teens about some of the dangers that can come along with prom, and how to handle them. This letter is going to focus on talking to teens about sex on prom night and preventing sexual assaults.
    Many teens feel pressure to have sex or engage in other sexual activities on prom night. Have a real, candid discussion about sex with your teen, whether they are seeing someone or not. Give them the information about sexually transmitted diseases and the risk of pregnancy. Discuss the dangers of sexual assault and make sure your teen understands not to pressure someone or fall prey to pressure to get physical. Encourage your teen to use the buddy system at parties after prom. Discuss with them the dangers that come with underage drinking, as most date rapes and sexual assaults are alcohol- and drug-related.
    Let your teen know that they do not have to give in to expectations of “going all the way” at prom. Tell them that you understand that pressure from their date can be overwhelming. It can make it easy to give in and go further than they want to. Make sure they understand that sexual coercion is not OK under any circumstance and they do not have to give in to unwanted advances. Make a plan with your teen about what they will do if they find themselves in an uncomfortable position. Effective communication before prom is essential to making sure teen is safe on the big night.
    If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, our agency can help. Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc. provides free and confidential services to rape and sexual assault victims. Please call if you have any questions. Our 24-hour hotline numbers are: Ontario/Seneca, 1-800-247-7273; and Yates, (315) 536-9654.
    JANNINE PHILLIPS
    Advocate
    Safe Harbors of the Finger Lakes, Inc.
     
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