Casual Relationships

We all know about casual relationships. The Netflix and Chill epidemic has taken over and made an impact on society, including many of you reading this now. In 2018, we are very much in a culture that dictates fast-paced living. We want everything at our fingertips and working for anything seems like a distant memory of the past. As easy as it is to find a partner to hook up with, you have to wonder if the ‘hook up’ culture as easy as it seems? Is it really easier sleeping with those whom you have ‘no strings attached’ or is there more to it?

According to the CDC (2017), “half of the nearly 20 million new STDs reported each year were among young people, between the ages of 15-24” (CDC, 2017, Sexual Risk Behaviors). It can be easy to stay in the now and assume that you will not be included in these numbers, but people are not always honest about their former relationships. They also may exaggerate or downgrade how many people they have slept with . . . no matter how much you think you know them. It may be weird to ask your partner about their previous relationships, but it may just save you from a lifetime of doctors’ visits and medication. Pregnancy used to be the main concern when it came to hookups, especially in a world where contraception is so heavily pushed to the public; however, STDs are slowly taking the lead for the worst con of unprotected sex.

While casual relationships may seem, exciting there are many health risks associated with ‘hooking up’. If you or someone you know are interested in learning more or simply needed our services give us a call for a confidential appointment. It’s never too late to be informed or ask questions about your body. You are in control of your choices, take charge and learn to educate yourself no matter how hard it may be.

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Reference

Adolescent and School Health. (2017, August 04). Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/healthyyouth/sexualbehaviors/

 

Intimate Partner Violence

Definition: Intimate Partner Violence [IPV]

“includes physical violence, sexual violence, stalking, psychological aggression (including coercive tactics,) and control of reproductive or sexual health by a current or former intimate partner” (CDC, 2010-2012, p.117). This can include anyone current or past that you have had sexual relations.

Intimate partner violence might seem like a distant thought if you are in a loving and respectful relationship; however, what if your relationship or someone you love suddenly find themselves in an abusive relationship? How would you respond? Would you blame yourself for not being informed of the signs of violence? Today, you have chosen to read this blog for reasons only you know but reading it could save a life. Knowledge is power and even if you never have to deal with IPV it’s important to be informed.

IPV, according to the CDC’s National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2010-2012),  is estimated to have affected 44,981,000 women during their lifetime (CDC, 2010-2012). If your thinking this number is high, imagine if we combined decades of research from reported incidents of IPV. Intimate partner violence is a tragic epidemic that is affecting not only women, but men, youth, and even children in certain instances. IPV can have lifelong impacts on each person involved including but not limited to anxiety, depression, PTSD, homelessness, unintended pregnancy, substance abuse, high-risk sexual behavior, and or chronic pain syndromes (CDC, 2017). The aftermath of IPV can be hard to live with but it’s important that those who experience this trauma understand that they are not to blame for the actions of others. They are still worthy of love and respect. They should be encouraged to find their new identity outside of the abuse they experienced. Intimate partner violence can be prevented by educating yourself on the signs and symptoms of this abuse. Promoting positive healthy relationships is becoming more prominent as the years’ progress, but many women do not have access to the information that is being shared in America. Certain cultures, all over the world, have their own ideas about abuse and the rights of an individual. Think about how many people you see in a day. Are you providing a positive example of what a healthy relationship looks like or are you promoting IPV? Even a negative comment can turn someone off to your relationship, even if it’s behavior you and your partner engage in frequently. Encouraging one another and complimenting the positive attributes your partner is a great way to start leading others. This small step could change your relationship in ways you never imagined.

If you or someone you know is interested in more information on IPV or healthy relationships give us a call today 760-945-4673. If you or someone you know is suffering from abuse consider calling the National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233.

References

CDC. ( 2010-2012) Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/NISVS-StateReportBook.pdf

CDC. (2017). Intimate Partner Violence: Consequences. Retrieved from https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/intimatepartnerviolence/consequences.html

 

This week is national suicide prevention week. During this week, we remember those who felt alone and isolated to a point where life was no longer an option. According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (2017) “suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States” (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017, Suicide Statistics). This means that the number of completed suicides every year averages about 44,000 people, which is conducive to correct reporting 100% of the time (American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, 2017). Today’s society is very focused on suicide prevention but the American culture is simultaneously pushing independence which can isolate a lot of people.

The stigma of suicide alone makes most people uncomfortable because they are unsure what to say to people who are experiencing suicidal ideations. Erasing the stigma that comes with suicide is the first step. Starting a conversation about what the signs are is step two, which allows the outsider a glimpse of what the person may be struggling with. While we certainly will not understand their situation, we can allow ourselves to be empathetic as we try to address their needs.

Suicide entails many avenues ranging from mental, emotional, physical, and or relational aspects. We cannot assume that the problem is as simple as changing the circumstance or changing the people in their life. Those who suffer from suicidal ideations may have underlying matters that take more time. While most people will not be able to address psychological needs, there is always room to be a listening ear. To sit with those struggling and have empathy for the situation they are in; whether you agree or not. It’s important also to understand that asking direct questions such as “Are you considering suicide?” is okay to do. A clear picture of what their plan may be is vital in getting them the right help. Asking questions like this may also allow that person a way out of their situation without having to ask directly. We encourage you to join us in our study of preventative measures for suicide by learning when to step in and understanding what common signs may look like.

Below are a few of the signs that may be associated with suicide:

  • Withdrawal or isolation
  • Increase of drugs and or alcohol
  • Talking about being a burden
  • Talking about being hopeless or not wanted
  • Talking through options of suicide methods
  • Displays of mood swings unusual to the character of the person
  • Agitated or reckless behavior

You may be wondering why is a pregnancy center concerned about suicide? The Pregnancy Resource Center is concerned about the whole person, pregnant or not. Being mentally well is an important part of life because your mental capacity plays a role in everything you do. By starting the conversation about suicide prevention our center plays a small role in getting our community involved in prevention and assessment methods.

If you or someone you know is experiencing signs of suicide call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255. This organization is trained to help in crisis situations and to get help for those suffering in silence. Be a friend, take the time to learn more information on suicide. It could save a life.

Reference

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. (2017). Suicide Statistics-AFSP.

Over the years, sexual assault has become a topic that is debated quite frequently by public figures, celebrities, and everyday people. According to the Department of Justice (2017) “Sexual assaults is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempting rape” (Department of Justice, 2017, sexual assault).

In your community, today, or even your immediate circle of peers, do you think you could spot the signs of sexual assault? This includes those peers in relationships or marriages, not just the peers that are single. Sexual coercion (abuse) can be used in any circumstance including a child or adult and for several reasons. Coercion, or the act of persuading, can be used to manipulate others into behavior that they normally would not engage in causing confusion and strife. In relationships, this can be frustrating for the partner who agreed in the moment but doesn’t want to participate in the act again. They may feel overwhelmed by their choice and unsure what it means and how to move forward. One of the most important things to realize is that as a human begin you have the right to say NO! Even if you said yes at one time or another. You are in control of your body and no one should force you to do anything you are uncomfortable with.

Communication is key in relationships and if there is none RUN [QUICKLY]!

Warning Signs that could lead to a sexual assault:

  • Withdrawing from other relationships or activities, for example, spending less time with friends, leaving sports teams, or dropping classes
  • Saying that their partner doesn’t want them to engage in social activities or is limiting their contact with others
  • Disclosing that sexual assault has happened before
  • Any mention of a partner trying to limit their contraceptive options or refusing to use safer sexual practices, such as refusing to use condoms or not wanting them to use birth control
  • Mentioning that their partner is pressuring them to do things that make them uncomfortable
  • Signs that a partner controlling their means of communication, such as answering their phone or text messages or intruding into private conversations
  • Visible signs of physical abuse, such as bruises or black eyes

Warning signs that a sexual assault already occurred:

  • Signs of depression, such as persistent sadness, lack of energy, changes in sleep or appetite, withdrawing from normal activities, or feeling “down”
  • Self-harming behaviors, thoughts of suicide, or suicidal behaviors
  • Low self-esteem
  • Sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
  • Anxiety or worry about situations that did not seem to cause anxiety in the past
  • Avoiding specific situations or places
  • Falling grades or withdrawing from classes
  • Increase in drug or alcohol use

Although there are many ways to look at sexual assault, it’s important to remember that the survivor is never to blame. If you have experienced sexual violence or need support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).

References

Department of Justice. (2017). Sexual Assault. Retrieved from https://www.justice.gov/ovw/sexual-assault

RAINN. (2017). Scope of the problem: Statistics. Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/statistics/scope-problem

RAINN. (2017). Warning Signs of College-Age Adults. Retrieved from https://www.rainn.org/articles/warning-signs-college-age-adults

What does sexting mean? Am I sexting? Do I want to be sexting? Is it private?

Sexting in its simplest form is known as sending someone sexual messages or pictures via any mobile device. Sexting can be done in private or with others around encouraging the behavior. Often, teens get into sexting because all their friends are doing it (or so they think). Since sexting is done via mobile device it is not a private conversation. Anyone in the world can hack your device without you even knowing. Well, what if I am using a secure system? It doesn’t matter what type of security system you have once you press send it is available for all to see. The person on the other end of your conversation could easily share it with other people causing it to go viral (and not in a good way). According to the article “11 Facts about Sexting” (2017) “17% of sexters share the messages, they receive with others, and 55% of those share them with more than one person” (11 facts about sexting, 2017). This number is huge compared to the one person you thought you were sending it to. I’m sure you are thinking my boyfriend or friend would never do that to me; however, the brain is not fully developed until about 25 years old, so how do you really know (University of Rochester Medical Center, 2017)?

Sexting can not only cause embarrassment but also ruin the reputation you once had.

As previously stated, once you send something you cannot get it back. This means that your family, friends, future employers, future children etc. might stumble across these pictures or messages. Especially in the era, we are currently in where technology is developing so rapidly most of us cannot keep up. Would you really want any of those listed above seeing you half naked? Or reading sexual messages you sent to a boyfriend whose name you cannot even remember?

Sexting is also a very serious crime in our world today.

“Currently, under California law individuals, regardless of age, who produce, distribute or possess an image of a minor engaged in sexually explicit conduct are committing a felony. If convicted under the child pornography statutes then an individual could receive up to 6 years in jail and will generally be required to register as a sex offender” (Mobile Media Guard, 2011). I don’t know about you but being in jail for 6 years + being a registered sex offender over a nude/ semi-nude selfie doesn’t seem worth it.

Let’s talk about your standards and how sexting fits into that.

Short answer… it shouldn’t fit your standards! You are more than just a sexual being. You were created to make an impact on this world but how can you do that locked up? Think about your goals in life and how they will be impacted by a text message. Do you really want to explain to your parents that you no longer can go finish high school or go to college because you are in trouble over something you had control over? Well, what if I’m being pressured? If you are being pressured we recommend that you talk to someone you can trust and that has your best interest at heart (i.e. family, friend, counselor, teacher, or someone like the Pregnancy Resource Center). Everyone has someone who looks out for them, you just must be willing to reach out.

Here at the PRC, we understand the pressures you face. Some of us here were in high school ourselves not that long ago and understand what you face at school to conform to the social norms. If you or someone you know has already participated in sexting, IT’S OKAY! Move forward with your life and choose today to stop this behavior, if not for yourself today for your future self! Only you can change your behavior so what you do with this information is up to you but just know, we believe in you! We stand behind you no matter what your decisions and if you need help we are always here.

References

11 Facts about Sexting. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-sexting

Laws Pertaining to Sexting in the State of California. (2011). Retrieved from http://mobilemediaguard.com/states/sexting_laws_california.html

Understanding the Teen Brain . (2017). Retrieved from https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?ContentTypeID=1&ContentID=3051

Who are you? What do you want to be? Are you open to change? Are you Real?

Each of these questions begs a thousand more that determine the type of person you are and will be. The character traits you set your eyes on will dictate your emotions, actions, and language. Setting ambitious standards of ‘Real’ personality traits will help you remain authentic toward yourself and others. Authenticity shows that you no longer follow the crowd but are ready to forge your own paths, no matter the trials ahead. Think about what the phrase ‘be real’ means in your life? Maybe it means standing out against a social norm or standing up for others who are misunderstood. Or possibly it means learning to say only the things we know to be real instead of false. Consequently, being real comes with a lot of responsibility. Although we want to follow our true feelings we should also be mindful that judgment and shaming do not count as being real.  Often, this means learning to be vulnerable with ourselves and our true feelings about certain situations and people. When we can address character traits that go against the phrase ‘be real’ only then can we learn to accept ourselves and others. Being real is more than just expressing your opinion, it’s about finding who you are and using that to allow others the safety of expressing their ‘real attitude’. Maybe today you have found yourself in a situation that seems impossible to remain real and in the moment. If this is you take a minute to decide how long you will let yourself be affected by this event and then pick yourself and move past it. Mistakes are simply lessons learned. Choose today to see your circumstance as a chance to remain authentic. To take on this lesson as a challenge that will make you stronger in the long run.

Let’s be honest, it isn’t exactly possible to be without fear altogether. It wouldn’t be reasonable, or safe, or even human to have no fears. Sometimes our fear can keep us out of dangerous situations and help us make wise choices. What is possible is to press on despite our fears, to have courage, to be fearless to do hard things and make hard choices, to be brave in the face of fear..

What fears do you face? Do you fear what people think? Do you fear letting people see the real you? Do you fear rejection? Attention? Do you fear you won’t be strong enough to handle something? Do you fear feeling out of control?

It is good to get in touch with our fears so we can deal with them. And then it is good to remember that everyone can be fearless. Like anything, fearlessness takes practice. Here are three areas we can practice courage daily, three ways we can be fearless:

BE YOU. Some days having courage to simply be yourself is more than enough. In the little things, and the big things, stand up for what you believe, live an authentic life, let yourself be seen, and known, and loved for exactly who you are. Don’t settle, don’t be who others want you to be. You are a beautiful mess and you don’t have to be anything other than who you are. You are enough.

BE HONEST. One of the most fearless things we can do in day-to-day life is vulnerable. Vulnerability researcher Brene Brown says, “Ordinary courage is about putting our vulnerability on the line.” It takes courage, to be honest about your hopes and dreams and fears and choices. Vulnerability is risky, but the reward is the knowledge that you are living an authentic life and you are being authentically loved.

BE STRONG. Having the courage to resist outside pressure and make hard choices is fearlessness at its best. Are others trying to get you to say yes, or no, to something? Are loved ones pressuring you to make certain choices for your life? Courage is standing up and standing strong for who you are and what you want. While life is full of surprises, you can be courageous to face the unexpected with strength, dignity, and power.

Practice being fearless every day by being you, being honest, and being strong. When we practice having courage in the little things we will find ourselves empowered to be brave in the face of the big things too.

If you are facing the fear of a possible, or unintended, pregnancy we encourage you to have courage and ask for help. Pregnancy Resource Center is equipped to support you with FREE services including Free Pregnancy Test, Free limited ultrasound, and Free counseling. Call us today 760-945-4673

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Sometimes in life, we all feel a lot of pressure to be just like everyone else. To talk a certain way, to act a specific way, to fit in with family or with friends. Often this pressure can make us feel included like we are a part of something, but other times it can make us feel that much more excluded highlighting for ourselves just how different we are.

It is natural to want to feel like a part of something and it’s important to have friends that we can rely on and get along with. However, we must be careful that we don’t become fixated on being just like everyone else.

Remember there are parts of you that people love! Things that are so different from the rest of the world and those are things that make you unique and all your own person. That doesn’t mean that we stop growing through our trials and challenges. Trying to improve doesn’t mean changing all of ourselves it is about trimming off the parts that aren’t healthy. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam once said:

“Never stop fighting until you arrive at your destined place that is the unique you. Have an aim in life, continuously acquire knowledge, work hard, and have perseverance to realize the great life”

Being one of a kind means having the courage to be yourself in all situations. This attitude is what others will admire about you. Honor the character traits that make you one of a kind and choose today to be grateful you are not like everyone else.

 

LaBeLs (Everyone’s worst nightmare)

Labels are words or phrases that are used to tear others down. Labels affect all generations and each age group has specific labels that are unique to them. Each second of the day someone is being labeled either by themselves, family, co-workers, and most common their peers. Labels can retrain our brains to see ourselves as others see us instead of what we truly are. These labels can describe something as small as our hair being straight or curly. Interacting with these labels causes us to lose self-confidence, respect for ourselves, and even diminishes the thinking capacity we once had. Negative perceptions can completely change us into different people.

What if we aren’t the ones being labeled? What if you have labeled someone else? The same concept applies. Your negative words could have caused them to change their view of themselves and the world around them. The person you called fat is possibly treating their body like a prisoner. Starving themselves to fit into the image you have conformed them to. The person you said was ugly is likely seeking out unrealistic beauty treatments, surgery’s, and medications to look like the person they saw on TV. How about the person you called a failure and not valued? They could be contemplating suicide. What about the girl you called a stupid and worthless when she got pregnant in high school? This girl is most likely ashamed, alone, and scared because having a surprise baby doesn’t fit your mold of who she should be. This girl, as well as the others in each scenario, will have many challenges ahead of them but labels should not be one of them. Each of us were created like a puzzle, each distinctively different so that we could complete the beautiful picture that shows its face once put together.

Our society tells us that we should all look, speak, and think alike. When will you decide that labeling is not what you were made to do? You were meant for a greater purpose and to uplift others instead of tearing them down. Choose today to be the day you stop labeling others and define who YOU are based on your gifts and talents! The Pregnancy Resource Center stands with you in this challenge to be who you are TODAY! If you or someone you know is struggling with labels, self-esteem, unintended pregnancy, STD’s, and or suicidal thoughts call us today to speak confidentially with a trained counselor. We are here to help you, make today the day!

So… what do you expect? What do you desire? What do you respect? What do you admire?

These are big and challenging questions, and the answers to these questions can guide your life, your choices, and your relationships. The key is to be clear on your answers. If you can’t easily answer these questions, take some time to think, talk, or write about it.

What are your expectations for yourself? Today, tomorrow, a year from now? You are worth having high expectations for your life. We attract the opportunities, the treatment, and the people that match our expectations. If you expect to be treated well then you will attract people who exceed that expectation.

What do you desire for yourself? What do you desire in a relationship? Do you want someone who dictates only their needs or the opposite where they could care less about anyone’s needs? If you desire love and respect you will reflect that desire to those in your life. Reflect that you are worthy of love and respect by the example you set for others. People will naturally gravitate towards those who have admirable characteristics, such as the desire to stand up for what they want.

What do you respect? Do you respect strong women? Do you respect people who go after what they want and are resilient in the face of challenges? You are worthy of respect. Look around and think about who you know, or who you have met, that you greatly respect and seek out those traits in yourself.

What do you admire? Examples are all around us and we can mirror the behaviors and choices we see while still holding ourselves accountable to the person we want to be. You are worthy and capable of finding these qualities you just need to be patient. You didn’t become the person you are overnight and it will take time to achieve the true self you admire to be.

You have the power to set the standards for your own life, one day at a time. Live the life you want to live and don’t let others dictate or decide what you expect, desire, respect, and admire. Our power is in the choices we make, choices to strive daily to be the people we want to be, no matter the circumstances. We have the power today to make choices that we will be proud of tomorrow and for years to come.

So.. what do you want? What are you going to choose for yourself?