What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence refers to any behaviour or activity, perceived to be of a sexual nature, where consent is not obtained or freely given.  It occurs any time a person is forced, coerced or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity.

There are many types of sexual violence.  Not all include physical contact between the victim and the perpetrator (person who harms someone else).  The range of sexual violence includes (but is not limited to):

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Incest
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Unwanted or inappropriate sexual contact or touching
  • Sexual harassment
  • Exposure or flashing
  • Ritual abuse
  • Forced participation in / watching of pornography
  • Threats
  • Sexting
  • Stalking / cyberstalking
  • Forced prostitution
  • Trafficking for the purposes of sexual exploitation
  • Peeping
  • Female genital mutilation

Sexual violence is a crime.  It is motivated by the need to control, humiliate, or harm.  It is not motivated by uncontrollable sexual desire.  Perpetrators of sexual violence use sex as a weapon to dominate and hurt others.  Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, although most survivors of sexual violence know their perpetrators before the assault.

Sexual violence can happen to anyone.  No-one ever deserves for it to happen or asks for it.  If you have been raped or experienced any other kind of sexual violence, no matter where you were, what you were doing, what you were wearing, what you were saying, if you were drunk or under the influence of drugs; it was not your fault and you did not deserve this.