Sexual Violence

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What is sexual violence?

Sex without consent is sexual assault, whether the offender is a stranger or someone you know. Sexual violence occurs when you are forced, threatened, or manipulated into sexual contact against your will. It can happen to anyone at any age, place, or time. The way a person dresses or acts does not cause sexual assault. No one asks or deserves to be raped.

Sexual assault is a crime of violence and power. It is caused by the decision to control someone in the most personal way. It is not caused by sexual desire.

Sexual Violence can be any of the following actions:

  • rape (forced sexual intercourse)
  • sodomy (forced anal or oral sex)
  • forcible object penetration (penetrating someone’s vagina or anus, or causing that person to penetrate her or himself, against that person’s will)
  • unwanted sexual touching
  • sexual contact with minors, whether consensual or not
  • sexual contact with a person who lacks the capacity to give consent
  • incest ̶ sexual contact between family members
  • any unwanted sexual contact

How can a person ‘force’ another person to have sex?

Most sexual assaults involve some type of force, but force is not always physical. There are ways people can force you to have sex without using a weapon or physical violence. They can use verbal or mental methods, or pressure you with their position of power.

Here are some examples of each method:


Verbal or mental
  • using verbal threats to intimidate you
  • threatening to harm a family member, friend, service animal, or pet.
  • Implying that something bad will happen if you don’t give in, for example, “you will be placed in a nursing home,” “I will tell everyone that you did it anyway,” or revealing your sexual orientation to your family or employer.
  • manipulating you or tricking you by not telling the truth

Physical or use of power
  • having sex with you when you are too drunk or medicated to say no or otherwise unable to consent.
  • overpowering you physically
  • using a position of authority/trust, such as a caregiver or teacher, to persuade you to agree to do something sexual.
  • not taking no for an answer
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