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What is rape and sexual violence?

Sexual violence and abuse can be defined as any behaviour perceived to be of a sexual nature which is unwanted and takes place without consent or understanding.

Rape, sexual violence and abuse are horrific crimes. They can happen to anyone and have long lasting effects on the survivor.

Rape is defined as non-consensual penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth by a male penis. Rape is a criminal act and, in law, only males can commit rape.

Sexual violence and assault are also criminal acts but they can be committed by anyone, male or female. The terms sexual violence and abuse cover all other forms of sexual contact and behaviours that are unwanted and non-consensual.

what is rape and sexual abuse

Sexual violence can include:

• Rape
• Sexual Assault
• Assault by penetration
• Unwanted sexual advances or sexual harassment
• Being coerced or manipulated into sexual acts
• Sexual abuse of children
• Sexual abuse of vulnerable adults
• Ritual abuse
• Being forced to watch or participate in pornography
• Forced prostitution
• Flashing
• Trafficking of people for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
• Female Genital Mutilation (FGM)
• Sexting
• Unwanted sexual touching

You may find it useful to look at some of the myths and realities of rape and sexual abuse and also some of the possible signs of childhood sexual abuse.

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