What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence can take many different forms, but one thing remains the same: it’s never the victim’s fault – there is no excuse for sexual violence. Sexual violence is any sexual act that is unwanted and that no consent has been given in which a person is threatened, coerced, forced to comply against their will or unable to give consent to the activity. Sexual violence can include unwanted, non-consensual oral, anal or vaginal sexual intercourse, penetration with a foreign object (i.e. fingers, sex toys, etc.) or unwanted sexual touching on private parts of the body. This could be perpetrated by a person that you know or by a complete stranger.  The term ‘sexual violence’ is often used to describe both sexual assault and sexual abuse.

Click the items below to discover the forms sexual violence can take:


Who does it affect?

Approximately 90% of incidences of rape are committed by someone known to the victim

Sexual violence does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone, regardless of their age, social background, gender, religion, sexual identity, race, culture, ethnicity or disability. Worldwide statistics show that one in four women and one in six men will experience sexual violence at some stage in their life time. Sexual violence is perpetrated by both men and women. Usually the perpetrators know their victims and try to project a sense of power and control over the person. It is rarely about sexual pleasure. All forms of sexual violence are about getting power and feeling a sense of dominance over someone.  

Further reading