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SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Sexual violence is a term that refers to any and all acts and attempts to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments, advances, or acts against or targeted towards a person. Some forms of sexual violence include:

  • Sexual Assault

  • Child Sexual Abuse

  • Incest

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Sexual Misconduct

SEXUAL ASSAULT

Sexual assault is a term that refers to any sexual contact or behaviour that occurs without explicit (or clear) consent. Some forms of sexual assault include:

  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching

  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts

  • Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape

via rainn.org

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

WHAT CONSENT LOOKS LIKE

  • Enthusiastically saying “yes!”
    Talking to your partner about what you do and don't want, and listening to them in return

  • Checking in with your partner – “Is this OK? Do you want to slow down? Do you want to stop?”

  • Respecting someone’s choice if they say “no” – never trying to change their mind or put pressure on them

WHAT CONSENT DOES NOT LOOK LIKE

  • Feeling like you have to agree to sex because you are worried about your partner’s reaction if you say “no”

  • Someone having sex with you when you are asleep or unconscious

  • Someone carrying on with sexual activity despite your non-verbal cues – for example, if you pull away, freeze, or seem uncomfortable

  • Someone assuming that you want to have sex because of your actions or what you are wearing (for example, flirting, accepting a drink, wearing a short skirt)

SEXUAL ACTIVITY WITHOUT CONSENT IS SEXUAL VIOLENCE

If someone says "no" to any type of sexual activity, they do not consent.But if someone doesn't say “no” out loud, that doesn’t automatically mean that they have consented to sex.

  • If someone seems unsure, stays quiet, moves away or doesn’t respond – this is not consent. Many people who have experienced sexual violence find that they were unable to move or speak - this is a common reaction.

  • If someone is asleep, unconscious, drunk or drugged, they cannot consent to sexual activity.

  • If someone is threatened, bullied, pressured or manipulated into saying yes, this is not consent.

  • If someone's not sure whether you are giving your consent for something sexual, they should check with you.

If they can see or suspect you're not 100% comfortable or happy with what's happening between you, they should stop. Here are some examples of what consent does and does not look like via Rapecrisis England & Wales:

COMMON EFFECTS OF SEXUAL VIOLENCE

Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional, and physical effects. Sexual violence not only affects survivors but the people around them as well as well as impacting communities.

Each survivor reacts to sexual violence in their own unique way. Some express their emotions while others prefer to keep their feelings inside. Some may tell others right away what happened, others will wait weeks, months, or even years before discussing the assault, if they ever choose to. It is important to respect each person’s choices and style of coping with the trauma, as these are unique to every person. Here are a few common effects of sexual violence via Our Resilience:

PSYCHOLOGICAL REACTIONS

  • Nightmares

  • Flashbacks

  • Depression

  • Difficulty concentrating

  • Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

  • Anxiety

  • Eating disorders

  • Substance use or abuse

  • Phobias

  • Low self esteem

EMOTIONAL REACTIONS

  • Guilt, shame, self-blame

  • Embarrassment

  • Fear, distrust

  • Sadness

  • Vulnerability

  • Isolation

  • Lack of control

  • Anger

  • Numbness

  • Confusion

  • Shock, disbelief

  • Denial

PHYSICAL REACTIONS

  • Changes in eating or sleeping patterns

  • Increased startle response

  • Concerns about physical safety

  • Physical injury

  • Concerns about pregnancy or contracting an STI or HIV

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