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 What 8 Iconic Movies Taught Us About Safe Sex [GIFS] 

Reported by MTV Act.

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By Melissa Unger

April is STD Testing Awareness Month. Though the topic of STDs might still seem scary, movies have never shied away from exposing the sometimes embarrassing but super important truths when it comes to sex. Here’s a list of 8 movies that taught us a thing or to about, well, doing it.

+ “Saved!”

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Remember that crazy comedy where Mandy Moore as Hilary Faye and Macaulay Culkin as Roland attended a Christian high school? Their friend Mary (Jenna Malone) tries to cure Hilary Faye’s boyfriend of being gay by sleeping with him. After losing her virginity and ending up pregnant, Mary finds herself ostracized and demonized by her former friends including the self-righteous Hilary Faye who turns on her.

The Lesson: The world is not black and white (or right and wrong) and despite what Hilary Faye says, it’s impossible to change someone’s sexuality by having sex with them. However, you can change their STD status (and they can change yours), which is why it’s important to get tested before and after having sex.

+ ” Juno”

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Ellen Page’s break out role as Juno was heart-warming and full of hard truths. For example, what do you do after turning 16 and realizing the dude, aka Paulie Bleeker (Michael Cera), you love and had sex with has gotten you pregnant? In true Juno fashion, she decides to make an offbeat and unusual decision regarding her unborn child.

The Lesson: The choice between having a baby or having an abortion is a lot harder to make than the decision to skip causal sex, no matter how boss Paulie Bleeker is. It’s important to really feel ready when you do the deed.

+ “Superbad”

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Michael Cera, Jonah Hill, and the character McLoven have one last hurrah before realizing that their co-dependent high school days are over. The trio embark on a booze-soaked party in which they hope to drown their sexual fear and score with their high school crushes.

The Lesson: Alcohol, teenagers and sex lead to awkward, and often unsafe results. Protecting yourself means coming to the party prepared, and not letting anyone tell you what you should or shouldn’t do.

+ “The To Do List”

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Brandy is an overachieving but socially awkward teenager who graduates as the valedictorian and is in love with college student, Rusty. After Rusty rejects her, Brandy assumes it’s because she is sexually inexperienced. Seeking to change that, she draws up a list of sexual acts that she believes will help her achieve her goal of getting Rusty and heading off to college experienced.

The Lesson: Sex or any sexual act is too important to be put on a “to do list.” Unless of course you mean using protection, which should always be on your “to do list.”

+ “Fast Time at Ridgemont High”

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Probably the most iconic teen sex comedy off all times, “Fast Time at Ridgemont High” stars a then unknown Sean Penn. The film follows several teens as they take on yet another year of high school, enjoy malls, sex and rock n’ roll. The majority of the film focuses on Stacy Hamilton, who through the guidance of her friend, loses her virginity and explores the world of boys and eventually an unplanned pregnancy and abortion.

The Lesson: In the immortal words of Stacy Hamilton anyone can have sex, but what she wants is a relationship, especially with uber nerd Mark “Rat” Ratner. It’s important to find a partner you can openly discuss safety with.

+ “Easy A”

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Emma Stone shook up Hollywood, in this modern day tale of love, sex and the high school rumor mill. Emma plays a high school student using the high school’s gossips to spread rumors about her fake sex escapade. This is the movie that re-images the iconic tale of the “Scarlet Letter.”

The Lesson: Gossip, rumors and reputation means nothing when it comes to losing one’s virginity. Plus, despite what you may think, chlamydia doesn’t care if you have a clean-cut reputation. Anyone can contract an STD. In fact, 50% of people will contract an STD before age 25.

+ “Clueless”

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Alicia Silverstone, plays Cher, the apple of everyone’s eye at the ultra-rich Beverly Hills High School. She learns amongst all the shopping, school and socializing, sex is not what everyone says it is in this modern day tale of Jane Austen’s “Emma. ”

The Lesson: It never hurts to educate yourself about the basics, because no one wants to be clueless when it comes to safety.

+ “American Pie”

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In this raunchy comedy, four teenage boys explore sex, yes even doing it with a pie. The foursome also make a pact to lose their virginity by prom night.

The Lesson: Here’s the deal: you can plan your losing virginity. You can be prepared by making a protection plan with your partner, getting tested before and after, and using birth control.

Photos: (Getty/YouTube)

 

 Maci Bookout Breaks Down The Meanings Behind Her Many Tattoos 

Reported by MTV Remote Control.

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Maci Bookout shows off a subtle pencil tat on her right arm.

Some people prefer to keep the meanings behind their tattoos as private as their social security numbers, but Maci Bookout is coming clean about her vast body art. In a recent blog entry, the former “Teen Mom” cast member shared the inspiration for her more pronounced pieces — something she’s kept secret until now. From the word “bulletproof” etched into her right shoulder used to remind her of her strength, to a pencil on her forearm that represents her “weapon of choice,” Maci’s collection of ink truly tells a story about her life.

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Maci’s canvas.

“I think of them as pieces to my puzzle,” the young mother writes in her online diary. “No matter how big or small, they put me together. I love them, and I don’t give a damn if you love them or not.” One of Maci’s tats that’s hard to miss is a piece of notebook paper that spans the better part of her back and reads, “When my heart hurts worse than my head, that is when I will get scared…and that is when I will know, that it is worth it all.” She says the work reminds her of her love of writing. The name “Bookout,” which is inscribed toward the bottom of the sheet, uses three cupcakes as “O”-replacements to represent her mother, dad and brother. Fond memories of childhood birthdays, perhaps?

Oh, and just for a little bit of fun, Maci updated the panel to include the very same rubber duck that’s built into the “Teen Mom” logo. “Being on MTV was a huge part of my life, this was my way of incorporating that in to my back piece,” she notes.

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Maci’s ink pokes through the side of her cutoff shirt.

For more on Maci’s tats, including the meanings behind her pocket watch marking and “learn to feel” sentiment, take a look at her blog entry.

Photos: Colin Gray, Maci Bookout’s Instagram

 Do Your Friends Baby Their Phones? Try This Prank From DoSomething.org 

Reported by MTV Act.

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Is it possible to prank for a good cause? Well, DoSomething.org has a prank going on that’s aimed bring down the teen parenthood rate, and you could use it to get your friends thinking about preventing unwanted pregnancy.

The Pregnancy Text
campaign is going on till June 12 and you can “impregnate” your friend’s phone (check out the site or text BABY to 38383 to get started). During a thirteen hour period, your friend’s phone will act kind of like a baby, sending them text message of baby-related situations they’d have to deal with if they were a parent. And if your friends find text messages about spit-up, diapers and crying annoying, you can remind them (nicely!) that this is still nothing compared to a real baby.

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If you send this out to six friends, you can enter to be in the running for a $7,500 scholarship. The campaign’s page also has info on different forms of birth control and what rights you have in each state. Because it wouldn’t make much sense to tell someone not to get pregnant but then not explain how to prevent pregnancy. Prank or not, this really is supposed to be about education.

As the campaign points out, it doesn’t want to “insult or demonize” teen parents — it just understands being a teen is hard enough without being a parent on top of it, so it’s trying to give you the resources and understanding you need to keep yourself protected and do what’s best for you. Check it out, and if you have any more Q’s about birth control and preventing unwanted pregnancy, check out It’s Your (Sex) Life!

Photo: (DoSomething.org)

 Sweet Tweet: Kristen Bell Knows Who Owns Your Ovaries 

Reported by MTV Act.

The Paley Center For Media's PaleyFest 2014 Honoring "Veronica Mars"
People often think of birth control as just something that prevents unwanted pregnancy, but it’s so much more than that. Kristen Bell decided to highlight the many positive side effects to birth control — like how it can majorly improve both women’s rights and the economy.

The star of the new “Veronica Mars” movie Tweeted:

Kristen’s link takes you to an Upworthy chart that discusses why birth control is so necessary. As it explains in the beginning: “Other side effects of birth control include people of all genders living longer and earning more money. Trufax.”

The chart goes on to say: “222 million women want to prevent pregnancy but need contraception… Women with access to birth control have 40% higher earnings than those who don’t… Additionally, for every dollar invested in family planning and reproductive health, there is significant savings in education, immunization, water & sanitation.”

Think about it: if a woman has access to birth control, she can make sure she doesn’t have kids until if and when she’s ready. In the meantime, she can get an education and start a career. If and when she has kids, she already has herself established as an independent woman making her own income. She can afford her lifestyle and afford to take care of children, so she doesn’t need help from elsewhere.

If she has only the number of kids she wants to have, she’s able to take better care of them and afford what they need. When people have their education, their career, and the ability to take care of themselves, that helps the economy big time. People with access to birth control live longer, healthier and wealthier lives — both men and women!

 Farrah Abraham Responds To Her Haters: ‘I’m Blowin All The Bullies Away’ 

Reported by MTV Remote Control.

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Farrah in her music video for “Blowin.”

Earlier this week, former “Teen Mom” cast member Farrah Abraham released a music video for her new single, “Blowin,” and everyone from Gawker to the mailman had something snarky to say about it. From cracks at the song’s lyrics to unoriginal puns about its title (seriously, guys, stop gobbling up the bait), the negative comments still continue to fill her Twitter feed. But you have to hand it to Farrah: She truly doesn’t give a crap.

We reached out to the young mother to get her response to all the haters, and to find out whether there will be more music projects in her future. Here’s what she had to say:

What was your inspiration for “Blowin”?
It came about when I thought of just getting air and getting away from the negative people in my life. The bullies, road blocks… I knew after singing it to my daughter that I should actually pursue making a real single.

How do the lyrics represent where you are in your life right now?
The lyrics represent my life right now because I’ve overcome the negativity. I stepped away and got what I needed to succeed with self-love and a stable environment, which led me to understanding that by just being who I am is all I need in this world. I was happy to share this positive message.

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Farrah carries her daughter Sophia across a field in her music video for “Blowin.”

Did your daughter Sophia like being part of the video?
Sophia wanted to be a part of the last scene we shot that day. It made me really happy, and, to be honest, I don’t think the music video would be the same without her. Children already ignore others and take time on their own, and I think that is something adults should refer back to as they deal with the everyday hustle of the world.

There were a lot of haters posting comments online after the video went up — what do you have to say to them?
I’m blowin all the bullies away.

What’s up next in terms of your music projects? Will you release another single soon?
I work on songs as they come, so I look forward to releasing another single in the future. I try to have all my songs relatable for my daughter in a fun and upbeat way that has a meaning.

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Farrah in MTV’s “Being Farrah” catch-up special.

MTV recently aired a catch-up special with you called “Being Farrah” — what was it like to be back on the channel again? 
I really enjoyed watching the “Being Farrah” special, and I think fans did, too. It was good to see the original cast of “Teen Mom” shown in a realistic perspective — with our recognition of being on TV, our lives being [talked about] in magazines and social media, traveling, doing other shows… It showed how we’re affected by it.

Are you glad you did “Couples Therapy,” and what did you take away from the experience?
“Couples Therapy” was another life-changing experience for myself. Dr. Jenn Berman picked me up and turned my life around for the better. I had just experienced another bad boyfriend’s behavior and therapy helped me make changes within myself. I’m thankful my parents also got to come get more therapy with me, which led to a lot of “Ah-ha” moments in everything I needed to change. Watching all the episodes afterward and seeing how others perceive things in such a negative light helped me realize my strength and gear my focus on a brighter future.

Check out Farrah’s music video for “Blowin,” as well as MTV’s recent follow-up special with her, which, yes, addresses the sex tape.

 Wait, So What’s Going on With Birth Control & the Affordable Care Act? 

Reported by MTV Act.

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Birth control isn’t just about sex — access to it also helps women’s health overall and drastically improves the economy.

The Affordable Care Act is working to make birth control available to all women, but some companies are fighting this and it’s being taken to the Supreme Court. To better understand what’s going on with birth control, the ACA and SCOTUS, the Center for Reproductive Rights is doing a Twitter chat Monday at 2PM EST to answer your Q’s. Just make sure you use the hashtag #ReproChat to get involved.

Earlier this week I spoke with Julianna Gonen, theDirector of Government Relations, at the Center for Reproductive Rights, about how to get birth control under the ACA, how to end the stigma against it, and how access to birth control would actually save us billions of dollars.

ACT: Before the chat happens, can you give us the basics on what’s going on with birth control and the ACA? Can you clear up some common confusions and misinformation?

JULIANNA: Absolutely. The Affordable Care Act—which was signed into law by President Obama more than three years ago and later upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court—did a whole host of things to improve the standard of health care in the U.S. Among those historic advances was a huge expansion of copay-free preventive health care services for women, including things like contraception, cancer screenings, HIV and STI testing, well-woman visits, breastfeeding support, and prenatal and post-partum care and counseling.

But since the preventive services benefit under the ACA went into effect, more than 40 private, for-profit companies have filed lawsuits to try to deny their female employees access to those birth control benefits in their employee health plans, claiming that it somehow violates the company’s religious beliefs.

On March 25, U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments from two of those companies: Hobby Lobby, a national arts and crafts chain, and Conestoga Wood, a cabinet company based in Pennsylvania.

But for-profit companies are no more entitled to deny women insurance coverage for birth control than they are entitled to dictate how employees can spend their paychecks or what they can do on their days off.

Contraception is not your boss’s business—it’s your business. No employer should be able to impose their own personal religious beliefs on your health care decisions.

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ACT: How will the ACA help you in getting birth control?

JULIANNA: Nearly all women have used some form of birth control in their lives. In fact, 99% of all sexually active women in the U.S. use birth control at some point during their reproductive years.

So by having access to co-pay free contraception in their health plans, millions of women will be able to afford the birth control that is right for them. Women won’t have to choose between paying for contraception and other living expenses like rent, groceries, or child care.

To find out about your own benefits and coverage for contraception in your health insurance plan, call the member services number on the back of your health insurance card. If you don’t have health insurance, be sure get over to www.healthcare.gov before March 31st to see how you can get covered!

ACT: How can people stand up for their right to use birth control, especially with all the recent attacks against women’s reproductive rights?

JULIANNA: If you agree that contraception is your business and not your boss’s, you can stand with us in Washington on March 25 outside the U.S. Supreme Court! And if you can’t make it, you can add your name to a list of supporters that will be featured on a banner we will fly at the rally.

It’s incredibly important to tell your elected officials—from your governor and representatives at the state capital to your senators and representatives in Washington—that you think that any attempt to roll back the clock on our reproductive health and rights is unacceptable. For more information on what you can do right now, visit Draw the Line.

ACT: Can you explain why better access to birth control is so necessary for women, and how it’s tied in to women’s rights and overall health in general?

JULIANNA: Every woman—no matter where she lives or how much money she has — deserves a basic standard of reproductive health care.

Access to contraception when she needs it enhances a woman’s opportunities for education and employment, and further supports her ability to provide adequate care, nutrition, housing, and education for her family. She succeeds in the job market and gets more education.

She’s healthier, as are her children if she chooses to have them. She has more independence, dignity, greater equality, and participates more freely in society.

Contraception empowers women. It prevents millions of unintended pregnancies and saves billions in health care costs across the globe every year. Expanded access through the Affordable Care Act is a tremendous step forward that we can all rally around.

Photo: (Getty)

 Selfless Snaps: Shalyah Evans Remembers Awesome Get Yourself Tested Party 

Reported by MTV Act.

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You have slumber parties and birthday parties and girls’ (or guys’) night-out parties . . . why not have Get Yourself Tested parties? Shalyah Evans of “Girl Code” went to one, and she talked about it for her #ThrowBackThursday.

Shalyah shared this on Instagram, writing, “#tbt GYT party with GirlCode!”:

The girls on “Girl Code” aren’t shy when it comes to talking about sex. But they also know that if you’re gonna have sex, your mental, emotional and physical health are #1 priority. It’s important for you to decide if and when you have sex, and you get to set whatever boundaries you want for you and your partner. At the same time, physical health is important, and that’s done through preventing unwanted pregnancy and STDs.

Shalyah and others on “Girl Code” have done some pretty funny skits about getting yourself tested. They do it to make people feel less embarrassed and uncomfortable about getting tested. Going to a doctor and getting tested for STDs shouldn’t make you feel ashamed — it should empower you, because it’s the responsible thing to do! That way you can know what’s going on with your body. If you do have something, you can get it either cured or treated, which is sooo much better for your body than ignoring it.

Half of sexually active young people will catch an STD by time they’re 25. If you’re sexually active, the best way to keep yourself protected is to use a condom every time you have sex. GYT tested might not be the most typical kind of party, but protecting your health is a reason to celebrate!

Photo (Getty)

 The New York Times Praises ‘16 and Pregnant’ For Lowering Teen Birth Rates 

Reported by MTV Act.

Jenelle - Season 1Husband and wife journalists Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn are behind the women’s empowerment book and movement Half the Sky. And, it turns out, Krisof is a fan of MTV’s “16 and Pregnant” for its proven work in reducing teen pregnancy rates.

In his piece for the New York Times, Kristof spoke about how reducing the teen birthrate is a big step in ending cycles of poverty. “We’ve tried virginity pledges, condoms and sex education,” he wrote. “And, finally, we have a winner, a tool that has been remarkably effective in cutting teenage births. It’s ‘16 and Pregnant,’ a reality show on MTV that has been a huge hit, spawning spinoffs like the ‘Teen Mom’ franchise. These shows remind youthful viewers that babies cry and vomit, scream in the middle of the night and poop with abandon.”

He talked more about the study done on how these MTV shows are bringing down the birth rate. “Kearney and Levine [who did the study] find that regions with a higher audience for ‘16 and Pregnant’ and the ‘Teen Mom’ franchise had more of a drop in teenage births. Over all, their statistical analysis concludes that the shows reduced teenage births by 5.7 percent, or 20,000 fewer teenage births each year. That’s one birth averted every half-hour.”

Another thing he brought up is the importance of birth control being accessible to couples who need it. “It’s also a reminder of the paramount need for clinics that offer free, long-acting contraception: When a teenage girl searches the web for birth control, let’s make sure she finds solutions.”

Earlier this year, MTV’s network President, Stephen Friedman, spoke to The New York Times about the show and said, “It’s another reminder that great storytelling can be a powerful catalyst for change.”

Teen parenthood is something that’s 100% preventable, and if you ever have questions about birth control and how to keep yourself protected, check out It’s Your [Sex] Life.

16 And Pregnant” returns April 29th at 11/10c.

+ Watch A Preview Of This Season Of ’16 And Pregnant.’

Photo (MTV Press)

 Mozambique Could Allow Rapists To Force Victims Into Marriage. Here’s How You Can Help. 

Reported by MTV Act.

Mother With Her Child
A wedding is supposed to be a happy occasion, but in some parts of the world a rapist can force his victim into marriage so he won’t be charged with sexual assault.

Mozambique, a country in Africa, is considering making this loophole into law. A man could sexually assault a woman, make her marry him, and then get away with it because he “did the right thing.”

Morocco had the same law until recently. 16-year-old Amina Filali was one example out of many there. Amina was sexually assaulted and forced into marriage with her rapist. Then she committed suicide, viewing it as the only way out.  Her story managed to make big headlines, and Morocco felt the heat so much they changed the law.

Now with Mozambique considering the whole “sexual assault is OK if it ends with marriage” law, we need to let our voices be heard. Amnesty International has set up a quick petition you can sign. If enough people know about this proposed law and speak out about it, we could stop it from happening. As Amnesty International says, “No means no — not ‘I do.’ ”

That is true everywhere. “No” always means “no.” Consent needs to be granted to begin with, and consent can be taken away at any time at all. For instance, you can say yes to someone one night and no another night. No one can touch your body without your permission, just as you can’t touch someone else’s body without theirs.

If you or someone you know are ever in a situation that isn’t consensual, you can reach out to RAINN for help or call at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Photo: (Amnesty International)

 In Mozambique A Rapist Can Force His Victim To Marry Him. Here’s How You Can Help. 

Reported by MTV Act.

Mother With Her Child
A wedding is supposed to be a happy occasion, but in some parts of the world a rapist can force his victim into marriage so he won’t be charged with sexual assault.

Mozambique, a country in Africa, is considering making this loophole into law. A man could sexually assault a woman, make her marry him, and then get away with it because he “did the right thing.”

Morocco had the same law until recently. 16-year-old Amina Filali was one example out of many there — she was sexually assaulted, forced into marriage with her rapist, and then she committed suicide, viewing it as the only way out. Amina’s story, however, managed to make big headlines, and Morocco felt the heat so much they changed the law.

Now with Mozambique considering the whole “sexual assault is okay if it ends with marriage” law, we need to let our voices be heard. Amnesty International has set up a quick petition you can sign. If enough people know about this proposed law and speak out about it, it could stop it from happening. As Amnesty International says, “No means no – not ‘I do.’ ”

That is true everywhere. “No” always means “no.” Consent needs to be granted to begin with, and consent can always be taken away. For instance, you can say “Yes” to someone one night and “No” another night. No one can touch your body without your permission, just as you can’t touch someone else’s body without theirs.

If you or someone you know are ever in a situation that isn’t consensual, you can reach out to RAINN for help or call at 1-800-656-HOPE.

Photo: (Amnesty International)

 Farrah Abraham’s ‘Blowin’ Video: A Shareable, Lyric-By-Lyric Guide 

Reported by MTV Remote Control.

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Farrah Abraham is once again “blowin” up all over the Internet. The good news? It has nothing to do with a sex tape. The bad news? She’s still not getting any love from the public. Like, any. Yesterday, the former “Teen Mom” cast member released a music video for her new single, “Blowin,” to not-so-stellar reviews; however, the frequency by which the You Tube link was passed around was incredibly impressive. The girl certainly has a way of keeping herself relevant!

Much of the chatter around Farrah’s video was focused on its imagery (shots include the single mom — clad in a billowy, ethereal dress — holding her daughter Sophia in the park and snappin’ selfies with fans at the club), as well as the self-written lyrics, so we’ve taken the liberty of creating a shareable, frame-by-frame presentation that combines both. Behold, Farrah Abraham’s “Blowin” in pictures.

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 Selfless Snaps: Gabrielle Union Stands Up For Sexual Assault Survivors 

Reported by MTV Act.

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Gabrielle Union was sexually assaulted when she was younger, and now she is bravely speaking out as a survivor.

Gabrielle spoke at the Call of the Game Dinner, then shared some images afterward on Instagram.

She wrote, “Sat night I was honored to co-host the #callofthegamedinner to speak about being a rape survivor and to highlight #laurenskids foundation that helps children who’ve been abused. It is NEVER easy to talk about my journey from rape victim to survivor but I recognize the greater good that comes from my speaking out. I live for the day when I don’t hear ‘It happened to me too’ … That day hasn’t come yet… So I continue to do the work… Whatever it takes. Always remember you aren’t alone, ppl DO care, and there IS help. So to all the survivors, to all the strong but don’t know it yet and ESP to all those struggling to find hope… Love, Light, Healing and Many Blessings”.

Lauren’s Kids is an org founded by Lauren Book, a woman who was sexually abused as a child and who doesn’t want to see that happen to others. She has speaking engagements around the nation and teaches both kids and adults about sexual abuse through in-school curriculum.

One third of girls and one fifth of boys are sexually abused before turning 18. Sexual abuse is never okay, and Gabrielle is right that people do care and there is help available. You can always call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE or live chat with someone at RAINN, the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network. You are not alone.