Sexual violence comes in many forms, all of which occur without explicit consent of the victim-survivor. Sex without affirmative and ongoing consent is rape. The majority of perpetrators of sexual assault are people who are known to the victim-survivors. A victim-survivor of sexual assault may have any type of relationship with the perpetrator (friends, partner, family member, acquaintance), but in some cases, they may have no relationship with them at all. Similar to partner violence, sexual assault is a crime of power and control. It is extremely important to remember that the victim-survivor is never to blame for the actions of the perpetrator.
Common forms of sexual assault include:
- Penetrations of the victim-survivor’s body (rape)
- Attempted rape
- Forcing a victim-survivor to perform sex acts (such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body)
- Fondling or unwanted touching
- Unwanted sexual comments or harassment (read below)
Perpetrators of sexual assault can use many forms of force, including but not limited to:
- Physical pressure
- Charm and building of trust (grooming)
- Emotional coercion
- Psychological force
- Intimidation tactics
Sexual Harassment is any unwanted sexual attention of a persistent or offensive nature made by a person who knows, or reasonably should know, that such attention is unwanted. This can occur both inside and outside the workplace and may be done by someone in a position of authority or someone with no authority over the victim-survivor. Furthermore, a victim-survivor does not have to be the intended target of the harassment. Instead, anyone affected by the unwanted conduct would be considered a victim-survivor of sexual harassment.
Common forms of sexual harassment include, but are not limited to:
- Inappropriate touching
- Requests for sexual favors
- Unwelcome sexual advances
- Verbal/physical conduct of a sexual nature
- Making crude or sexual remarks
- Sending pornography without consent
- Unwanted staring at a person’s body
- Following someone around
- Repeatedly asking for dates despite being rebuffed
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