Sexual abuse is any behaviour thought to be of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent.

Sexual violence and abuse can be physical, psychological, verbal or online. Any behaviour of a sexual nature that causes you distress is considered sexual violence or abuse.

Sexual violence can include:

  • Sexual harassment and sexual touching
  • Rape, non-penetrative and penetrative sexual assault
  • Non-contact sexual crimes, such as grooming and indecent images of children, forcing people to do sexual things to themselves, and sharing sexual images of an adult without their consent (sometimes called ‘revenge porn’).
  • threats and intimidation
  • emotional abuse
  • sexual abuse

Sexual tactics of abuse are often concealed in secrecy because of the deep feelings of shame and disgust they create within the survivor. Sexual tactics can include forcing sexual acts, not respecting boundaries, forcing someone practice polyamory or monogamy, intentionally exposing the survivor to sexually transmitted infections, forced pregnancy or forcing sex work.

Aside from violating boundaries and forcing sex acts , an abuser may refuse to appropriately refer to body parts, leading to increased feelings of dysphoria. Conversely, the abuser may eroticise their body without consent, fetishising their anatomy to the point of sexual harassment.

An abusive transgender person taking testosterone may use their increased libido as an excuse to coerce or pressure their partner into sex.

If you have been sexually assaulted , it’s important to remember its never your fault. Sexual violence is a crime, no matter who commits it or where it happens. You don’t need to report to the police if you don’t want to, you may need time and space to think about what you want to do.

However, considering getting medical help as soon as possible for any injuries as you may be at risk of pregnancy or sexually transmitted infections. If you want the crime to be investigated, the sooner a forensic medical exam takes place, the better. You may also need access to PEP.

Our advocates can support you to figure out what is best for you, we can also support to you access statutory services (police, sexual assault referral centres) so that you get the best possible support.

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual abuse, follow the link below.