What Is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence is a crime that occurs when someone engages in unwanted sexual contact with another person, without their consent. It includes sexual harassment, rape and sexual assault. It is a serious issue that can lead to lasting consequences and harm for those affected.
Facts: Women and girls are most commonly victims of sexual violence, but men and boys can also be assaulted. Gender-based stereotypes often reinforce inequality between men and women, leading to some people to believe that the only way they can get what they want is to attack or coerce the other gender.
Many of these crimes are committed by people that the victim knows or is related to, such as friends, family members or boyfriends. This can cause victims to feel less safe than they should be, and it may be tempting to blame themselves for the sexual assault.
The truth is that sexual violence can happen to anyone at any time in any place, regardless of who the perpetrator is. It can be a sexual act, such as kissing or touching, or it could be something more physical, such as rape or sexual assault.
Survivors of sexual abuse have many different symptoms that can arise following an assault. These range from feelings of betrayal to numbness and self-injury, and can affect their bodies as well as their emotions.
Body complaints, eating disturbances, anxiety and difficulty concentrating are common. Other common symptoms include mood disorders such as depression and post-traumatic stress disorder.
Victims of sexual violence often suffer from changes in their relationships with others, including difficulties trusting others. They may remove themselves from their community or lose interest in social activities. They may be unable to sleep at night, experience nightmares or have a difficult time dealing with anger or thoughts of suicide.
They also may find it hard to focus in school or work. Survivors may have difficulty making decisions or deciding where to live or how much money they need.
Sexual violence is also common in situations of conflict, where it can be used as a weapon by combatants. It can involve a variety of methods, such as torture, sexual abuse, and other forms of intimidation.
It is important to have a consistent definition of sexual violence. This helps researchers to track trends over time and informs prevention and intervention efforts.
Despite the lack of accurate data, it is estimated that around 23% of Australians have experienced some form of sexual violence in their lifetime (over 2.2 million women and 8% of men). It is estimated that 90% of those affected by traumatic experiences such as sexual assault recover.
Perpetrators of sexual violence are usually men and have a strong sense of entitlement. They are able to use this entitlement to control others, which can be particularly harmful when they have power over a woman.
Some of the most common types of sexual violence are coercion, exploitation and rape. They can take many forms and may occur in any setting, including online or in a person’s home.