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Questions and Answers

Life can be confusing and you may have questions.

It’s not always easy to ask questions about relationships or things that can hurt or even know the right questions to ask. So here it’s safe to ask. You ask, we answer.  If you don’t see what you are looking for here, send us an email at: questions@knowyourpeace.org and we’ll post the answer. (All names are kept confidential.)

Bullying and Harassment

What can I do if I am being bullied or sexually harassed?

The sooner you address it the easier it will be to deal with. Many victims try to ignore it because they are embarrassed, they want to be liked or they are afraid of what the harasser will do. But if you let it go, the bully can get the message that their behavior is okay with you and then it could get out of control.

What can I do if I see someone else being bullied or sexually harassed?

Do not participate or stand by and watch when it is happening. Step in (if it is safe) Report the incident to adults and other authorities.

Gender Stereotyping

If no one else sees me being harassed, what can I do? Won’t the harasser just say that I’m lying?

This is no reason not to speak up and tell someone you trust. It’s a good idea to write everything about the event that you can remember: where it took place, what time of day it was, what exactly happened, what was said and how you felt. It is important that you speak up because the harasser may have done something similar to others, and the combined stories make it easier to prove.

Gender stereotyping is everywhere; I see it in movies, tv, from friends and even my parents. What can I do about it?

Never judge a person on your first impression,  which is usually about how they look.

Use a critical eye when viewing media and see if you can identify the messages being sent.

Check yourself for biases (unfairness or prejudice) and work to overcome them. Try to embrace differences, learn from them and not be afraid of them. See the person as an individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, gender identify, or gender expression.

Does gender stereotyping mean that that it’s wrong for guys to like sports or fix cars or for girls to enjoy cooking?

Absolutely not! It is important for all of us to make our own decisions about what we like to do regardless of what society tells us.

Some of my friends say, “that’s so gay” all the time. I know that they don’t mean it to be offensive. I wonder how it makes my gay friends feel. What should I say to them?

You can start by asking them what they mean. Then ask how they think a gay person may feel if they heard them say that. You might suggest that it’s not a good thing to say and see if there are other words they can use. Remind them that it’s good to understand what they’re saying, and think about the potential consequences of the words they choose. If it bothers you to hear them say it, tell them that too!

Active Bystanders

Why don’t people help if they see someone in trouble?

If no one else is doing something to help, it is hard to go against the crowd. Or people may feel that they are risking embarrassment. Sometimes people think there is someone else in the group who is more qualified to help,  or they think that the situation does not call for help since no one else is doing anything.

What should I do if I am a bystander and decide I want to get involved?

  • Believe someone who discloses a sexual assault, abusive relationship, or experience with stalking or cyber-stalking.
  • Be respectful of yourself and others.
  • Watch out for your friends and others – if you see someone who looks like they are in trouble, ask if they are okay. If you see a friend doing something questionable, say something.
  • Speak up – if someone says something offensive or abusive, let them know that it's disrespectful and you don’t want to be around it. Don’t laugh at racist, sexist, or homophobic jokes.
  • Challenge your peers to be respectful.

What should I do if I witness what looks like a dangerous situation?

  • Call police or someone else in authority.
  • Tell another person. Being with others is a good idea when a situation looks dangerous.
  • Yell for help.
  • Ask a friend in a potentially dangerous situation if they want to leave and then make sure that they get home safely.
  • Ask a victim if he/she is okay. Provide options and a listening ear.
  • Call the local crisis center for support and options.

Relationships

What is a healthy relationship?

In a healthy relationship, there is respect and honesty between both people.You do activities together, like going to movies or out with other friends, and you talk to one another about how you feel. This means that you listen to each others thoughts and opinions and accept each others right to say no or to change your mind without giving each other a hard time. You should be able to let the other person know how you are feeling without fear of judgement or being criticized. You might disagree or argue sometimes, but in healthy relationships you should be able to talk things out to solve problems and without getting violent or abusive. Check out our RESPECT page for more info...

What is an unhealthy relationship?

In an unhealthy relationship, you usually feel the exact opposite of how you feel when you’re in a “healthy relationship.” You and your partner don't usually feel good about each other or yourselves. Not all unhealthy relationships are abusive but sometimes they can include verbal, physical, emotional, or sexual abuse.

Why do some people stay in unhealthy or abusive relationships?

Sometimes it may be hard to get out of an abusive relationship, because violent relationships often go in cycles. After a person is abusive, he or she may say sorry and promise never to hurt you again. They may even say that they will work on the relationship, and it may be awhile before that person acts abusive again. These ups and downs can make it hard to leave a relationship.

How do I get out of an unhealthy or abusive relationship?

First, if you think that you are in an unhealthy or abusive relationship, you should talk to a parent/guardian, friend, counselor, doctor, teacher, coach or other trusted person about your relationship. Tell them why you think the relationship is unhealthy or abusive and exactly what the other person has done. If needed, this person can help you contact others that can help you.

What do I do if a friend tells me that he or she is in an abusive relationship?

  • Listen without judging or blaming
  • Tell your friend that you believe them.
  • Tell your friend that it is NOT their fault.
  • Tell your friend that you are there to listen if they want to talk about it.
  • Remind your friend of all the people who care about them.
  • Let them know that you are worried about their safety.
  • Offer to go with your friend to talk to an adult.
  • Help your friend make a safety plan.
  • Share the number a hotline they can call for more information or offer to call it yourself.

 

"When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you."
— Lao Tzu