Are you someone who entered foster care because you were being abused or neglected at home? If so, you may already know what abuse feels like. So how do you avoid abuse in your own personal and sexual relationships?
WHAT IS A HEALTHY RELATIONSHIP?
As adults, we all define relationships and healthy relationships in different ways. But healthy relationships all have certain things in common: respect, safety, flexibility, support, and good boundaries. A healthy relationship provides room for you to grow and be your best. If you feel controlled, anxious, frightened, or confused because of something your partner is doing, that’s a sign that the relationship may be doing more harm than good. Learn more about healthy relationships here.
Building healthy relationships requires that you take care of yourself, too! Managing stress, keeping your body healthy through nutrition and exercise, setting goals for yourself and spending time with friends and loved ones all contribute to your well-being and the health of your relationship. In a good relationship, you and your partner support each other’s need for self-care. Counseling, therapy, and mental health services often help address past trauma and build strong relationships. If you are in extended foster care, your social worker can connect you to free counseling and mental health services. If you aren’t getting what you need, be sure to ask the judge at your next court hearing, or reach out to your lawyer and ask for a referral to mental health services and supports.
WHAT IS SAFE SEX?
Safe sex is all about protecting yourself and your sexual partners from sexually transmitted infections. Safe sex helps you stay healthy and can even make sex better. Protecting yourself from sexually transmitted diseases and infections is about more than just preventing pregnancy. Some methods of birth control will prevent pregnancy, but not sexually transmitted diseases or infections like HIV. It’s important to talk to your sexual partner about your health history and any sexually transmitted diseases or infections that either of you have had in the past, and to get tested regularly if you are sexually active. This kind of open conversation is part of a healthy, happy sex life.
Learn more about sex and relationships.
Learn more about communicating with your partner.
Learn more about healthy sex.
WHAT IS SEXUAL CONSENT?
Consent means actively agreeing to be sexual with someone. Consent lets your partner know that you welcome being sexual with them. Sexual activity without consent is rape or sexual assault. Learn more about sexual consent.
WHAT IS DATING ABUSE?
Dating abuse is a pattern of behaviors one person uses to gain and maintain power and control over their partner. Many people assume abuse means that physical violence is happening, but that’s not always the case! Abuse comes in many forms—it’s not just physical. Learn more about the different types of dating abuse.
WHAT DO I DO IF I AM EXPERIENCING ABUSE IN MY RELATIONSHIP?
The first step is to talk about the problem with someone you can trust. If you have a therapist or counselor, that is a good place to ask for help. Your social worker can connect you to someone who is trained to help you if you are experiencing abuse. They can help you get to safety, refer you to a counselor, suggest classes for yourself or your partner about overcoming abuse, and more. There are also hotlines you can reach 24/7 for support and assistance. TEXT: LOVEIS to 22522, Call: 1.866.331.9474.
HOW CAN I PREVENT PREGNANCY?
You can prevent pregnancy by getting birth control from a health care provider before you have sex and using that birth control in the correct way. You can also pick up free condoms from a health care provider or purchase them at a pharmacy. There are many types of birth control to choose from.
Your health care provider can help you decide which type of birth control is best for you, and make sure you understand how to use it so that it is effective in preventing pregnancy.
HOW DO I GET BIRTH CONTROL?
There are a few different ways that you can get birth control. You can ask your regular doctor about birth control during a check-up. Or, you can make an appointment with a health care provider just to talk about birth control. If you’re worried about cost and keeping the visit private, find a free clinic in your area.
Your health care provider will ask you about your health history and may suggest other health care services, like a pap smear or tests for sexually transmitted diseases. See here for information about your right to privacy when you ask about these topics.
DO I HAVE TO PAY FOR BIRTH CONTROL?
If you are in foster care, extended foster care, or aged out of foster care in California, you probably have Medi-Cal insurance. Birth control is free on Medi-Cal. In addition, many clinics offer these services for free or at low cost. You also may qualify for MediCal- Minor Consent program or PACT to help you prevent an unwanted pregnancy, help avoid contracting HIV and other STIs. Learn more about how you can get reproductive health services for free.
WHAT TYPE OF BIRTH CONTROL SHOULD I TAKE?
There are many different types of birth control. Your health care provider can give you the information you want and need to help you decide which one is right for you. Not all clinics offer the same type of birth control or information. You have the right to ask questions about birth control. For more information on the different types of birth control and to explore what might be important to you, visit Bedsider for a complete guide.