What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence – or sexual assault as it may be referred to – is a profound violation of a person's body, sexuality and sense of self and safety. The effects of sexual assault can last a lifetime, rippling out to family members, school and work, communities and down through generations.
Sexual assault is an “umbrella” term that includes a wide range of victimizations. It occurs when a person is forced, coerced and/or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity. It can include completed or attempted attacks, and may or may not involve force and threats. It may or may not be illegal under state or federal law.
Sexual assault is part of a range of behaviors one may use to take power from their victims. It can begin with words, gestures, jokes and intimidation. It can progress to coercion, threats and actions that involve sexual touching or intercourse, and may involve other forms of violence.
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