Roll the red carpets and pull out those tuxedos for this very special time of year – prom. That’s right, for many, the big night approaches, and if you’ve decided you’re going with a partner, we just want to make sure you do it safely (by the way, it’s cool if you’re not going, too). And we don’t just mean arrive safely to your prom, but we mean be safe with the whole process.
A lot of feelings come along with preparing for prom and the post-prom weekend, and we want to touch on some of those now before you put on those expensive clothes your parents bought for you and hop into that sweet candy apple red ’67 Shelby Mustang GT you’re borrowing. Any type of abusive behavior is intolerable, even if prom is approaching.
Know that the expectations in a relationship should never be different just because it’s prom season. This means that you don’t have to do anything differently the night of prom or the weekend following. Sexual coercion is the use of intimidation, alcohol, drugs, threats or force to have sexual contact with someone against their will.
Your partner may expect you to deliver more than you’re willing to, and when you deny them, might attempt to convince you to ignore your discomfort.
Sexual coercion comes in many forms:
- Guilting — “You owe it to me.”
- Name-calling — “Don’t be chicken.”
- Threatening — “If you don’t do this, I’ll hurt you.”
- Lying — “Everyone else is doing it.”
- Badgering — “Come on, please.”
- Blackmailing — “Even if you don’t, I’ll say you did.”
We understand that pressure from your date can be overwhelming. It can make it easy to give in and go further than you want to. But, sexual coercion is not OK under any circumstance and you do not have to give in to unwanted advances.
We want to be clear: if you don’t want to, you don’t have to.
Effective communication before the big night is key to making sure prom is an experience you and your date can enjoy. Set boundaries and let them know you’re going to stick to those boundaries during prom
So, here are some tips for letting your date know what you are/aren’t comfortable with:
- Be honest about what you want
- Be clear, make sure they understand
- Be firm, do not let them persuade you to do something that you are uncomfortable with
- Don’t be embarrassed, it’s OK to not be ready
- Trust your instinct. You’re the best judge of what you want.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to have fun. This is your prom weekend and if you’re a senior, everything is different afterwards. It is possible to have fun and maintain your own level of standards. Dance the night away and enjoy the company of your friends. Call or chat or text us if you have any questions or just need to talk.
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