Sexual Violence and Identity Stereotypes

sexual violence

Sexual violence is any act, attempt or coercion that violates a person’s sexuality or that threatens to do so. It can be committed by anyone — men, women, boys, girls, adolescents, and adults. It can be carried out in any place, at any time, and by anyone — a friend, family member, acquaintance or stranger. It can be physical or sexual.

Sexual Violence and Identity Stereotypes

The most common perpetrators of sexual violence are men. However, there are many reasons why women are also victims. They may be subject to gender-based stereotypes or victimized by men who use their relationships with them to control them. In addition, they may be targets of gang rapes or other forms of sexual abuse that are rooted in gender-based power and privilege.

Survivors of sexual violence often experience different emotional, psychological and physical impacts. Their reaction will depend on how the assault occurred and their own personal feelings about it. Generally, sexual assault is a life-changing event that can affect a survivor for the rest of their lives.

Everyone heals differently from sexual violence and it is important to respect that. Be a good listener and patient when talking to your loved one about their sexual assault.

If you are unsure about how to help your loved one after sexual violence, contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline. They can provide information, advice and referrals to services that can support you.

You can also report a sexual assault to your local police non-emergency number or at the police station. Survivors should report the incident as soon as possible to ensure the safety of themselves and others.

In many cases, the person who commits sexual violence is someone the victim knows. This could be a friend, an acquaintance, an ex-partner, a family member or someone they are dating.

Almost 82% of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, according to RAINN. In other cases, the perpetrator is a stranger.

The most common type of sexual assault is rape, but other types of sexual violence include stalking, bullying, and harassment. People can experience unwanted sexual attention without physical contact, such as being groped in public or being exposed to pornography.

Sexual Assault & Coercion

The perpetrator of sexual violence can use coercion to gain the victim’s consent. They may intimidate or blackmail the victim by threatening them with something they want (for example, to leave their job or not get a desired promotion), or causing them to be intoxicated, asleep or mentally incapable of understanding what is going on. They may also use threats of physical harm or a weapon to get their way, such as a knife, axe or gun.

It is illegal in Canada to commit a sexual assault if you are not legally permitted to be in a position of authority over the victim. You may be charged with a crime and if you are convicted, you could face a serious sentence and a criminal record.