Sexual Violence and Its Impact on Gender, Race, Ethnicity and Culture

Sexual violence is a complex issue and it can impact people of all ages and backgrounds. But some groups experience higher rates of sexual harm and face greater barriers to seeking help and accessing support. This is a result of the intersectionality of gender, race/ethnicity and cultural identity.

The most common form of sexual violence is a rape. It is often committed by someone known or even trusted – a friend, partner, family member, work colleague or neighbour. It happens to both men and women, of all ages and from all sociocentric and ego-centric cultures. It is more likely to happen in cultures where men are given a sense of male superiority and a woman’s value is assessed in terms of her ability to meet the needs of the man. In these situations, a victim’s resistance is likely to be seen as an insult to the offender’s masculinity, which may lead to further abuse.

It is also important to note that sexual violence can take the form of other non-physical forms such as emotional coercion or manipulation. Sexual offenders can use this to manipulate and control victims and their families. These forms of sexual violence are not less serious than physical assaults and can have the same or more devastating effects on the victims and survivors.

In addition, it is important to recognise that sexual violence and abuse is rarely just a one-off incident. It is a pattern of behaviour that can last for years and may occur in different places and contexts. It is therefore vital that sexual abuse and violence is reported to the police and that victims and survivors are supported to report it and seek help.

When people are experiencing sexual violence and abuse, they may be under a lot of stress and pressure and this can make them more vulnerable. This can include feeling like they don’t have any options and that they are to blame or that it was their own fault. These feelings can also stop them from getting support or telling anyone about what has happened.

Sexual violence can cause a range of health problems for victims and survivors. It can affect a person’s mental health, physical health, and their quality of life. It can also have a direct impact on a family, community and society. It can have a negative effect on the economy and businesses as it can have a significant financial burden and result in lost productivity.

It is important to recognise that it takes a long time for many victims and survivors of sexual violence to come forward and report their experiences. This is due to a combination of factors including social norms and beliefs, culture, stigma, discrimination, fear of retaliation and lack of support.

It is also important to recognise that the response to sexual violence can be a mix of informal and formal responses. Informal responses can include reaching out to friends, family members or colleagues and seeking help from professional services like crisis, legal, child protection or health services.