How it happens

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Sexual violence is not only about the use of physical violence.

The offender can use other strategies for convince, pressure or force the victim to engage in a sexual act:

  • threatening the life or physical integrity of the victim or of their loved ones: boyfriend/girlfriend; partner; husband/wife; relatives; friends; children;
  • threatening or blackmailing the victim with promises of exposure of videos, images or materials with the victim’s intimacy, if the victim does not agree or is willing to perform a specific sexual act;
  • threatening to spread rumours, lies or false information about the victim among their family and friends, if the victim does not participate in a specific sexual act;
  • using arguments or pushing the victim persistently to get involved in a specific sexual act against their will, such as convincing the victim that the act is a proof of love or affection towards the other person or telling the victim that, if he/she does not do it, the relationship ends;
  • taking advantage of the occurrence of previous sexual acts performed by mutual consent to justify the victim’s “obligation” to perform a specific sexual act, even if against their will;
  • taking advantage of the victim’s inability to perform sexual acts, when the victim is not able to agree or disagree about getting involved in sexual acts, for example, when intoxicated, under the influence of medication or has a disability caused by a physical or mental illness;
  • intentionally causing the victim’s inability or disability, by drugging the victim, for example;
  • taking advantage of a superiority position in relation to the victim to convince or pressure him/her to perform a sexual act, for example, a chief in the workplace, a teacher or other education professional in the victim’s school, college or university.

Although sexual violence can be committed by anyone, the majority of the reported situations of sexual violence are committed by a male, often known or close to the victim. To know more about this, click here.