What Is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is any sexual act or attempt to obtain a sexual act by violence or coercion, act to traffic a person, or act directed against a person’s sexuality, regardless of the relationship to the victim. Sexual violence may include sexual assault, rape, incest, sex trafficking, and/or sexual harassment.

Sexual Assault refers to the physical act of sexual violence. Sexual assault may be used to describe rape, incest, molestation, unwanted fondling or unwanted sodomy. Sometimes the term sexual assault is used interchangeably with the word “rape.” Other times it is used to describe sexual violence that pertains to a range of unwanted sexual contact.

Rape is forcible, non-consensual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Rape occurs when a person has sexual intercourse with another person who is incapacitated, incapable of giving consent, lacks the capacity to consent, or by the use of force.

Incest is commonly defined as sexual touching or penetration between two related persons. It is often used to refer to non-consensual sexual acts perpetrated on a minor child by a relative.

Sexual Trafficking is human trafficking for the purpose of sexual exploitation where victims are forced to perform commercial sex acts. It has been called a form of modern-day slavery because of the way victims are forced into non-consensual sex through fraud or coercion. Minors under the age of 18 engaging in commercial sex are considered to be victims of human trafficking, regardless of force, fraud, or coercion.

Sexual Harassment is unwanted sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature when submission to such conduct is a condition of the victim’s employment or rejection of such conduct by the victim is used as a basis for employment decisions. Someone is a victim of sexual harassment when such conduct has the purpose or effect of interfering with an individual’s work performance or creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work environment.

If you or someone you know has been a victim of sexual violence, please contact CASA at info@casa-sedalia.org to learn more about sexual violence and the resources available.