Sexual abuse includes any form of unwanted or forced sexual contact or behavior. It is often present in cases of domestic and relationship violence. It includes:
- Forced partial or full nudity
- Touching, caressing or feeling, in a sexual manner, any part of the body of the victim
- Forced viewing of or participation in sexual activity in front of or with any person(s), including the victim’s partner
- Forced sexual activity without protection or contraception
- Forced viewing of or participation in pornography, prostitution, rape, molestation or bestiality
- Ignoring requests or pleas to stop at any time before, during or after any sexual activity
- Forced drug or alcohol use to encourage or enhance sexual activity
- Forced domination, bondage, submission, use of weapons, sexual aides, tools or objects
- Forced painful, uncomfortable, unwanted activity or discussion during sex
- Mutilation of genitalia
There are also verbal, emotional and psychological violations, such as:
- derogatory references one’s sexual anatomy, blatantly or in jest
- sexual objectification
- denial of intimacy as punishment
- demanding intimacy in a negative or inharmonious environment
- enabling addiction in order to enhance or create the desire for sex
- pushing for intimacy when the victim is ill or otherwise unwilling
- bragging or complaining about sex with the victim indiscriminately to others and despite his/her desire for privacy
- blaming or ridiculing the victim to others for his/her their lack of desire for intimacy
- guilting the victim into having sex
- uploading nude or sexually suggestive photos or videos of the victim on the internet ; revenge porn
- attaching support or generosity to sex (paying for rent/bills/dinner = an entitlement to sex)
- punishing the victim with infidelity
- giving the victim details about affairs or other sexual encounters to punish or make him/her feel sexually inferior
- ridiculing or criticizing sexual performance
- using your religious/spiritual faith to coerce you to perform sexual acts
Other facts about sexual abuse:
- It is a form of physical abuse. It can also be a form of emotional and psychological abuse as well as social abuse.
- The perpetrator can be stranger, family member, spouse, intimate partner or another person known to the victim.
- It does not have to occur every day. It does not have to occur often. It can happen once a week, once a month or once a year. Even if it only happens once, if it happens without your consent or while you are unable to give consent, it is still abuse.
- It does not have to leave visible cuts, bruises, swelling or injury or require you to need medical treatment.
- It is against the law.
There are emotional and psychological effects from sexual abuse that include withdrawal, anxiety, substance abuse, depression and suicide. There are physical consequences such as headaches, ulcers, gastric disturbances, weight gain, weight loss and poor nutrition.
Abuse is never acceptable, in any form. If you feel you are in an abusive relationship, contact a coalition in your state or any of these organizations that may apply to your situation:
The National Domestic Violence Helpline 800-799-SAFE (7233)
The National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 866-331-9474
The National Sexual Assault Hotline 800-656-HOPE (4673)
ChildHelp National Child Abuse Hotline 800-4-A-CHILD (800-422-4453)