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Talking about sex assault with teenagers

Posted: 2:33 AM, Sep 11, 2015
Updated: 2015-09-11 06:33:52Z
The future is still unclear for two Manatee High school football players who have been accused of sexual battery. Court documents say 18-year-olds Gyriel Price and Simeus Wesley were recorded having sex with a 15-year-old girl at her home over the weekend.
 
Both could be suspended, kicked off the football team or even moved to an alternative school. Police say the girl agreed to have sex, but because she's 15, it's considered a crime.
 
ABC Action News went to experts, who are weighing in to give parents the tools they need to talk to their kids about sexual assault and the age of consent.
 
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay says teens often have no idea what consent looks like.
 
"It's not being pressured, it's not being given drugs or alcohol," said Kathleen Kempke, Director of Sexual Assault Services for the Crisis Center of Tampa Bay. "It's not doing it because you think if you don't, this boy or this girl won't like me anymore."
 
Kempe also said many teens are confused or unaware of who can legally give consent.
 
"In the state of Florida, before the age of 16, you really cannot consent," Kempke said.
 
Kempke said however people between the ages of 16 and 24 years old can legally consent with one another.
  
Experts say parents can use an incident on a TV show or social media as a way to start talking about sexual assault and safe-sex practices.
 
 "Use that as kind of a jumping off point," Kempke said. "What would you do if this were your friend?"
 
Kempke also recommends parents talk with their kids about what to do if they are in a situation where they feel pressured to have sex or are considering having sex.
 
"I think they need to talk about what their values are," Kempke said. "One family may say we don't ever believe that should be an option for you until you're married. Another family might have different values."
 
Experts also say have another person you trust ready for your child to talk to.
 
"That person you know will give them the same kind of solid advice you would," Kempke said.
 
The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay also says there are warning signs signaling your child could be a victim of sexual assault. They say rapid changes in weight, trouble sleeping or signs of depression are just a few signs.
 
Kempke says if your child comes to you with a story of sexual assault,  reassure them that you believe them and that they are not at fault. She also said you can contact law enforcement or The Crisis Center of Tampa Bay at 211.