This was one of my slightly more concerning anonymous questions that I received from a 15 year old the other day. As an adult looking in, your mind can go to all sorts of places and as this was truly anonymous (although I do know it came from a boy), I couldn’t follow it up for more details.

This is what he wrote:
“I might have had things with a girl at a party. I don’t remember who she was. What should I do?”

This is how I answered:
1. Why can’t you remember? Was she a stranger and you didn’t talk much or were you drunk or high?
2. People are WAY more likely to take sexual risks that they regret when they are under the influence and BY LAW you CANNOT consent to sexual activity-so be careful. Learn about the effects of specific drugs and drink that you are taking so you can be more informed and in control.
3. If she was a stranger and you engaged in unprotected sexual activity, then it is a good idea to get tested. Remember that you can get STIs through oral sex.
4. Is there any way of getting in touch with her (through friends of a friend) -maybe someone remembers who you were talking to. It would be good to contact her and make sure she is alright.
4. Think about what it is that is now concerning you. Were you left with a bad/uncomfortable feeling the next day? Is there someone you trust that you can talk to about this? Can you remember what you did just not who she was, or are you having problems remembering what you did as well? (I did say to them that it’s hard from the vagueness of the question to understand exactly what has happened).
5. Remember everything you have learnt about consent. FREELY GIVEN/REVERSIBLE/INFORMED/ENTHUSIASTIC/SPECIFIC. I tell them that the reason I talk about consent so much is that we know statistically and anecdotally that sexual harassment/assault and abuse happens to an alarmingly high number of people STILL and that we all need to be very clear on what informed consent looks like. This could be another reason to get in touch with her to make sure everything that happened was consensual.
6. Try and think about your actions more next time so you can make wiser/kinder choices.