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Sexual violence

Sexual violence

Sexual violence is any form of sexual contact that you do not freely agree to.

Sexual violence takes many forms. These include: rape, sexual assault, unwanted touching, fondling, sexual harassment, threats of violence, pressurised sex, flashing, penetration by objects and childhood sexual abuse. Sexual violence is any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour.

It is an abuse of power and a form of control which can cause humiliation, pain, fear and intimidation.

Most forms of sexual violence are criminal offences in Scotland, and all of them have a significant and harmful impact which can be just as distressing as rape itself. Instances of sexual violence occur more commonly than is often realised.

Although there are different forms of sexual violence the effects can be similar because the experience is often confusing, shocking, frightening, and/or upsetting and can be difficult to cope with.

Everyone is affected differently by sexual violence. There is no right or wrong way to feel.

Anyone can experience sexual violence.

The person who commits the sexual violence is always responsible for it. Sexual violence does not ‘just happen’. A person makes a choice to commit sexual violence.