What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence means that someone forces or manipulates someone else into unwanted sexual activity without their consent. Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs.

Anyone can experience sexual violence including: children, teens, adults, and elders. Those who sexually abuse can be acquaintances, family members, trusted individuals, or strangers. Anyone can experience domestic violence regardless of gender or sexual identity, race, class, religious belief, level of education, immigration, or economic status. Every 68 seconds another American is sexually assaulted. And every 9 minutes, that victim is a child and yet, only 25 out of every 1,000 perpetrators will end up in prison.

Because sexual assault can happen to anyone and in many ways, domestic violence can be difficult to identify. However, all abusive relationships share one thing in common, there is always an imbalance of power and control. A person causing harm will use tactics to maintain power and control to keep a person in a relationship. Such tactics can include:

  • Using intimidation
  • Emotional abuse
  • Isolation
  • Coercion and threats
  • Using children or pets
  • Using privilege
  • Economic abuse
  • Minimizing, denying, blaming

To learn more about these tactics and what they can look like in your relationship(s), go to arizonasurvivors.org/domestic-violence/have-i-experienced-domestic-violence.