Get Informed

What is sexual violence?

Day One - Get Informed

SEXUAL VIOLENCE occurs any time a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. Force is not just physical force or violence, but includes physical and verbal pressure, tricks, bribes, and threats. 


Examples of Sexual Violence Include:

  • Verbal (comments, threats,  notes, technology-e-mail, text messages, graffiti, phone calls, etc.)
  • Physical (contact w/sexual parts of the body)
  • Non-physical (stalking, staring)

Sexual violence also includes sexual exploitation, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, human trafficking and voyeurism. Labels like date rape, partner rape, acquaintance rape, non-consensual sex, and marital rape might sound like the offense is less harmful, but it is not. They are all violent and are all rape.


Anyone can be a victim of sexual abuse – all ages and genders – regardless of income level or ethnic background.  No one knows exactly how many people are sexually abused because abuse is often not reported. However, it is estimated that one in four girls and one in six boys will report being sexually assaulted before they turn 18. 


People who commit sexual assaults do not look a certain way. We think of them as being so different from us that they could not possibly be in our workplaces, neighborhoods and community events. The majority people who commit sexual assault are regular people who may be married with children and hold regular jobs or attend college. They are also family members, co-workers, friends and acquaintances.

Offenders can be male or female and may be well-liked by other people. Strangers do commit sexual assaults, but 75% of the time victims/survivors of sexual assault know their perpetrators.   People who perpetuate sexual assaults are motivated by the need to control, humiliate, and harm. They are not motivated by sexual desire.

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