WHAT IS SEXUAL VIOLENCE?

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Sexual violence occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into unwanted sexual activity without their consent. Generally, the reasons someone might not consent to sex include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Sexual violence is a broad term that includes rape, incest, child sexual abuse, intimate partner violence, sexual exploitation, human trafficking, unwanted sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.

Unfortunately, these sexually related crimes are widespread and occur daily right in our own communities, schools and places of employment.

  • 1 in 6 boys will experience a sexual assault before they turn 18 (Dube et al., 2005)
  • one in four girls will experience a sexual assault before they turn 18 (Dube ei al., 2005)
  • 1 in 5 women will be raped at some point in their lives (Black et al.,2011)
  • 1 in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives (Black et al.,2011)
  • A majority of women who reported being raped at some point in their life (79.6%) experienced their first rape before the age of 25, furthermoreand 42.2% experienced their first rape before the age of 18 years (Black et al., 2011)
  • More than 25% of male victims reported their first rape was when they were 10 years old or younger (Black et al. 2011)
  • The majority of rapists are never apprehended (Carr & VanDeusen, 2004)

Our Role in Prevention

We can all help play a role in changing the attitudes and culture that promotes sexual violence. Traditional gender roles, power imbalances, and victim-blaming all contribute to sexual violence.

  • Be a role model for respectful behavior to those around you.
  • Talk with your children about healthy sexual development and personal boundaries.
  • Intervene and speak up when you see inappropriate behavior.
  • Prepare yourself in advance as to what you could say or do if put in an uncomfortable position.
  • Contact your local sexual assault center for more information. A step further would be to invite them to speak and share in your schools and workplaces.

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Resources

References

Understanding sexual violence: Tips for Parents & Caregivers of children

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