Stand up for yourself! You can say NO!

"BAAAAH!" Are you beginning to look and sound like a sheep? Following EVERYTHING your friends do and say even when you don't want to? Well, stand up for yourselves, it's ok to say no!
When someone is pressuring you to do something you don’t want to, it can be difficult to say “no”.

You need to think of yourself first and the consequences of your decisions. If you believe the risk is too great to take, you need to stand up for yourself and say “no”. 

This is always hard to do, especially if you want your friends to like you (and let’s face it – we all do!).  However, being a good friend is not about going along with whatever your friends do.  It’s about being honest about who you are and what you want.  If your friends are true friends then they’ll respect you for that – even if your choices are different from theirs.

Saying NO also involves saying no to boyfriends or girlfriends. Intimacy is different for everyone and everyone has the right to decide where his or her limits lie in any relationship. If you are not ready to have sex, don't do it! You should NEVER feel pressured in to being sexually active. It's your body and your life!

NO MEANS NO!  

What happens if someone won’t listen when I say no? 

It is your choice to decide if you do or don’t want to do something.  When it comes to sexual relationships, you can decide what you want to do and nobody has the right to pressure or force you into any sexual activity.  Whether you know the person or not, if they force you into having sex, it is rape.

There are many myths and misunderstandings surrounding the issue of sexual abuse and rape.  Many people think rape only happens to someone in a dark street by a stranger.  The reality is that most rape and sexual assault happens between two people who know each other.  It is sometimes about mixed messages and people not checking in properly with the other person to make sure they’re happy with what is happening.  It is often about power and control.  Drugs and alcohol are not an excuse for rape and blaming rape on how much you had to drink or how stoned you were, is a cop out.  Men can always control their sexual urges, no matter how much a man is turned on.  There are no excuses.

Sometimes it can be very hard but it is very important to tell an adult or someone you trust that something is going on in your life that you don’t like.  If you’ve been sexually abused or raped, it’s important that you talk to someone about it.  

What do I do?

The simple answer is don’t do anything you don’t want to do.

This includes wearing clothes you’re not comfortable in, drinking alcohol or taking drugs when you don’t want to, having sex when you want to say ‘no’ and basically acting in a way that doesn’t feel right for you.

I can't say no . . .

Saying ‘no’ is not always as easy as it sounds. This is mainly because we often worry about what people will think of us, we want to be liked and fit in. But you need to consider this - taking the easy option and doing what your friends/boyfriends want you to do may mean doing something that you will regret and have to live with later.

I don't want to lose my friends . . .

If your friends are true friends they should respect what you want to do and some of them may be secretly relieved as you may be voicing their fears too!

So our advice is - be brave, be yourself and do what you want to do!

Here are some tips that may help you deal with peer pressure better:

  • Hang out with people who like doing similar stuff to you.
  • If you are having trouble saying no, remember this - it can feel good to stick with what you believe in and may earn you respect from others.
  • Always try not to judge others. Respecting someone else's choice may help them to respect yours.
  • If a friend is dealing with peer pressure, take action and stand up for them. This way you can learn from their situation and creative a positive vibe for everyone else.
  • You don't like it, so don't do it to others! It is not OK to bully or pressure someome just because they do it to you!