For Teen Survivors


On the Phoenix Foundation website we want all of our users to feel validated and supported, and that includes teen survivors, who say that they often feel left out of the discussion where sexual abuse issues are concerned. In particular, many have commented that they dislike being referred to as “boys.”

We have considered this issue, and our feeling is that while we don’t feel we should make a point of discontinuing use of the term, teen survivors deserve to hear our thoughts about this.

When the word “boys” appears on the site, it is never meant to patronize or talk down to you. There is no implication of weakness or immaturity in mind, and certainly no thought of second-rate standing. In fact, the opposite is the case, and that’s the point. The aim is to stress your right to love, protection, guidance, and the freedom to make your way to adulthood at a pace that works for you – without being used or betrayed. These are not just every boy’s needs; they are your rights. You don’t have to earn them. Nothing can revoke them: not anything you say or do, and certainly not the feelings or desires or urges of adults you know or encounter. Not ever. When you see references to “boys” here, we invite you to pause for a moment and think about this. What does it mean to have rights like that, just because you are a “boy”? What’s the best way to claim them? How can they help you?