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Sexual violence includes all sexual acts, attempted sexual acts, sexual comments or advances made by one person (or more than one) against another person or persons without their willingness or consent.

There are several behaviours of a sexual nature that can be considered violence:

  • unwanted intimate touching, such as being kissed, fondled or groped in the private parts and/or other parts of the body, without willingness or consent;
  • be the target of comments or jokes of a sexual nature that cause discomfort or fear;
  • be the target of insults or other forms of verbal aggression with a sexual content;
  • be forced or pressured to touch, fondle and/or masturbate another person;
  • be forced or pressured to see/watch other people in sexual poses or performing sexual acts, or be unwillingly exposed to the nudity of other people;
  • being photographed, filmed or spied on without previous consent or authorization;
  • be penetrated in the mouth, vagina or anus by a penis, other parts of the body (e.g.: fingers) or objects;
  • be forced or pressured to penetrate another person or having oral sex;
  • be forced or pressured to watch or participate in pornographic films, photos or performances;
  • be forced or pressured to get involved in prostitution.

There are also other less well known forms of sexual violence. Some of them are more associated with women exclusively:

  • forced marriage;
  • forced abortion;
  • female genital mutilation;
  • trafficking for sexual exploitation;
  • sexual slavery.

All these forms of sexual violence are a violation of the individual right to make free and informed decisions regarding the personal sex life. They are crimes and can be punished by Law.

When these acts are committed against children, the law is more protective and punishes all sexual acts, regardless of the consent, that affect the children’s healthy sexual development or that may lead children to engage in sexual acts for which they are not adequately prepared. To know more about sexual violence against children, click here.