December 30, 2022
Happy New Year from KBFPC!
However you choose to party, everyone deserves to feel safe and healthy in their body and relationships and enjoy celebrations. Here are some helpful tips to protect yourself and others, at any time of year!
The most important part of any sexual activity is consent! All partners should give clear, verbal, enthusiastic consent for any intimate contact and before sex. Remember – consent can change or be withdrawn: even if you said “yes” to something before, you can say “no” whenever you want!
Condoms are the best protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). They’re available for free at KBFPC and many locations around Homer including Alice’s Champagne Palace, Kharacters, Down East Saloon, Salty Dawg, Fritz Creek General Store liquor counter, and can be bought at local grocery and drug stores. Learn how to make a dental dam for oral sex from a condom. Protect your sexual health and your partners by getting tested for STIs regularly! External condoms also prevent unintended pregnancy, and there are numerous other methods of birth control available with a clinic visit. (Why we call it “safer” sex.)
Emergency contraception (EC) is a method of birth control that can be taken after unprotected sex, if you don’t want to get pregnant. All EC is most effective as soon as possible after having sex without a condom/other birth control. Plan B pills are available without a prescription at pharmacies, and at KBFPC for reduced cost (take within 3 days/72 hours). Another EC pill called Ella or an IUD (intrauterine device) may be more effective up to 5 days after sex, but require a clinic visit.
If you have questions about STI testing, birth control, or emergency contraception give us a call at 907-235-3436 or text 907-435-7505. Our sliding fee scale means you may be eligible for low or no-cost services at KBFPC!
Whether or not you drink alcohol or take drugs, information about “roofies” or spiked drinks can help you protect yourself and others. If you’ve been drugged or assaulted, it is never your fault.
There are several substances that can be added to someone’s drink without their consent to make them less alert, unable to defend themselves, and not remember what happens while the drug is in their system. These drugs often have no smell, color, or taste, so you may not know your drink has been spiked until you start to feel a side effect – many of which are similar to drinking just alcohol but tend to be more extreme or come on quickly: dizziness, nausea, confusion, difficulty concentrating or speaking, loss of balance or mobility, sleepiness, or feeling very drunk even if you haven’t had much alcohol.
Anyone can take steps to be as safe as possible:
- Always stay in control of your beverage: Buy your own drinks and know what you are drinking. Don’t accept drinks from strangers or leave your drink anywhere – even with friends, when dancing, or when you go to the bathroom.
- Only drink something you saw being made: Open or make drinks yourself. If someone offers you a drink, watch the drink being poured and carry it yourself. Don’t share drinks, or drink from a communal punch bowl that someone else has prepared.
- Trust yourself: If you’re unsure about your drink or if you think it tastes, smells, or looks strange, stop drinking it. Don’t drink more than you want to, even if someone else wants you to or so someone else will like you or be impressed.
- Get help: If you think you’ve been drugged, immediately tell someone you trust or call 911. If you’re in a public place, you can also tell the bartender or server and ask for help. Get to a hospital emergency room as quickly as possible – it’s important to tell a nurse or doctor what happened and ask them to take a urine sample so they can test for the right drugs.
Some drug supplies, including locally in Alaska and Homer, have been affected by fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than heroin or morphine and very dangerous. Make sure you trust your source and take steps to reduce harm and protect yourself. Locally, fentanyl test strips and free Narcan (naloxone overdose kits) can be obtained at Meghan’s Place Needle Exchange and Ninilchik Community Clinic locations in Homer and the southern Kenai Peninsula.
Take care of yourself and your community by staying aware of places and people around you. Look out for your friends and ask them to look out for you! Get help if you need to.
Whether or not you remember what happened, if you believe you were sexually assaulted or had sex without your consent get help right away: call 911 or have a trusted friend take you to a hospital emergency room. Even though it may feel very difficult at the time, it is important that you try not to pee, douche, bathe, shower, wash your hands, brush your teeth or hair, change clothes, or eat or drink before you go. In Homer, South Peninsula Hospital has a team of specially trained nurses to assist in gathering evidence and getting you help and the care you need. South Peninsula Haven House can also help, with their local 24-hour crisis line: 907-235-8943
You may have intense feelings and be afraid to talk about what happened, but it is important to get help. Even if you wanted to drink alcohol or take drugs at the time, sexual assault is never your fault. You can call these free, confidential organizations anytime, day or night for support:
• National Sexual Assault Hotline, 1-800-656-4673 (You can also chat online)
• National Domestic Violence Hotline, 1-800-799-7233
The only person responsible for sexual assault is the one who commits violence, but all of us have the ability to look out for each other’s safety. Whether it’s giving someone a ride home from a party or directly confronting a person who is engaging in threatening behavior, anyone can help prevent sexual assault. Bystander intervention is when someone who isn’t directly involved in a situation steps in to change the outcome. It’s not always easy, even if you know it’s the right thing to do, but your actions can have a big impact. Stepping in may give the person you’re concerned about a chance to get to a safe place or leave the situation, and can affect the way others around you think about and respond to sexual violence. You can make a big difference in someone’s life.
We know this time of year can be challenging for many people. Cozy, comforting routines can help, or call or text a friend to check in. Move your body or go for a walk – even in these cold, darker days getting outside for some fresh air can be a huge mood lift! Find a counselor or support group. Take time to take good care of yourself, however you know best. And if you feel depressed or are thinking of harming yourself know that you’re not alone, and please reach out for help. Call or text 988 or chat online with the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline to be connected to local mental health resources, or call the Alaska Careline directly at 877-266-4357. Call 911 in an emergency.
Homer also has some amazing community resources: Homer Area Support Group Resource Guide-FALL2022