Types of Sexual Violence

dealingRape: forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object. Rape victims may be forced through threats or physical means. In about 8 out of 10 rapes, perpetrators don’t use any weapon other than physical force. Anyone may be a victim of rape: women, men or children, straight or gay.

Acquaintance Rape: involves coercive sexual activities. These occur without a person’s consent or against a person’s will. Perpetrators can use force, violence, coercion, or fear of bodily injury. These sexual activities are imposed upon them by someone they know (a friend, date, acquaintance, etc.).

Child Sexual Abuse: sexual contact by force, trickery, or bribery where there is an imbalance in age, size, power, or knowledge.

Dating and domestic violence: any act, attempt, or threat of force by a family member or intimate partner against another family member. Dating and domestic violence occurs in all socioeconomic, educational, racial, and age groups. Issues of power and control are at the heart of family violence. The batterer uses acts of violence and a series of behaviors to gain power and control.

Drug facilitated assault: when drugs or alcohol compromise an individual’s ability to consent to sexual activity. Perpetrators use drugs and alcohol to minimize the victim’s ability to resist and their memories of the assault. Alcohol remains the most commonly used substance in sexual crimes. However, perpetrators us other substances, too, including: Rohypnol, GHB, GBL, etc.

Hate Crime: the victimization of an individual based on that individual’s race, religion, national origin, ethnic identification, gender, or sexual orientation. Any targeted group can experience rape and sexual assault as a form of hate crime. However, there are two groups that experience higher rates of sexual violence as a hate crime.

  1. Women: Many believe that all violence against women, including rape and sexual assault, is a hate crime because it is not simply a violent act, but is “an act of misogyny, or hatred of women” (Copeland & Wolfe, 1991).
  2. People in the LGBT Community: Members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities are often targets of hate crimes, many of which include rape or sexual assault.

Incest: sexual contact between persons who are so closely related that their marriage is illegal (e.g., parents and children, uncles/aunts and nieces/nephews, etc.). This usually takes the form of an older family member sexually abusing a child or adolescent. Many experts consider incest to be a particularly damaging form of sexual abuse. This is because individuals whom the victim trusts and depends on are the perpetrators. In addition, there is often a lack of  familial support. There is even sometimes pressure to keep silent from family members because they fear the family will disintegrate if the truth comes out.

Male Sexual Assault: male victims of sexual assault are an often forgotten population–unseen, neglected, and underserved

Partner Rape: sexual acts committed without a person’s consent and/or against a person’s will when the perpetrator is the individual’s current partner or previous partner (married or not), or co-habitator. Many times, there is not any physical violence associated with sexual assault, but that doesn’t mean that it does not happen. Many survivors also experience battering or severe physical violence along with sexual violence.

Sexual exploitation by a helping professional: sexual contact of any kind between a helping professional (doctor, therapist, teacher, priest, professor, police officer, lawyer, etc.) and a client/patient.

Sexual harassment: unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature. With harassment, submission to or rejection of such conduct explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s work or school performance. It also creates an intimidating, hostile, or offensive work or school environment.

  1. Quid pro quo- When a perpetrator makes conditions of employment contingent on the victim providing sexual favors. This type of harassment is less common.
  2. Hostile environment- When unwelcome, severe and persistent sexual conduct on the part of a perpetrator creates an uncomfortable and hostile environment (e.g. jokes, lewd postures, leering, inappropriate touching, rape, etc.). This type of harassment constitutes up to 95% of all sexual harassment cases.

Stalking: occurs when an individual follows a pattern of behavior that leaves someone else feeling afraid, nervous, harassed, or in danger.

Stranger Rape: occurs when there has been no prior contact between a perpetrator and survivor. There are 3 major categories:

  1. Blitz sexual assault- The perpetrator rapidly and brutally assaults the victim with no prior contact. Blitz assaults usually occur at night in a public place.
  2. Contact sexual assault- The suspect contacts the victim and tries to gain her or his trust and confidence before assaulting her or him. Contact perpetrators pick their victims in bars or lure them into their cars. In general, they perpetrator tries to coerce the victim into a situation where they can then take advantage.
  3. Home invasion sexual assault- When a stranger breaks into the victim’s home to commit the assault.

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