Sexual violence and abuse

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any form of unwanted sexual contact. It can be online or offline. Sexual violence can be physical, online or with words. Sexual violence also occurs within a marriage or relationship. Sexual violence can be a one-time event or carry on for years.

Examples of sexual violence include:

  • Making hurtful sexual comments
  • Forcing someone to watch sexual images
  • Forcing someone to undress
  • Forcing someone to masturbate
  • Sexual harassment
  • Rape

What is sexually transgressive behaviour?

Sexually transgressive behaviour is sexual behaviour without consent. If you’re very drunk, you cannot give your full consent even though you may say "yes."

Sexually transgressive behaviour doesn’t happen voluntarily. If you feel threatened or there is a reward or punishment attached, you’re not having sex by choice.

If people are not "equal" to each other, this is also transgressive. For example, if there’s a big age difference. Or if the other person has power or influence over you. For example, if a teacher has sex with a student.

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Who is a perpetrator, who is a victim?

Both men and women experience sexual violence. Children, adults and elderly people can all be victims or perpetrators.

Both men and women commit sexual violence. In most cases, the perpetrator is someone known to the victim such as a partner, friend or family member.

Examples of sexual violence

  • Sexual assault: being touched, groped or undressed against your will.
  • Rape: rape involves sex with penetration without consent. The penetration can be with the penis, tongue, fingers or an object.
  • Sexual abuse: when someone uses force, threats, blackmail or manipulation to force you into sexual contact. Sexual abuse often involves coercion and an 'imbalance of power'.
  • Grooming: when someone wants to gain your trust with the intention of sexually abusing you.
  • Sextortion: in sextortion or 'sexual extortion', you’re persuaded to send sexual images of yourself. The extortionist threatens to distribute the images if you don’t pay or do what the extortionist asks.

Talk about it. In all confidence.

Did you have a negative experience that you want to talk about? Do you sometimes cross boundaries and want this to stop? Talk about it with 1712. Free and anonymously. Our professional counsellors will help you.

Fien’s date (19) turned out completely wrong

For weeks we chatted before we saw each other in real life. Our date went well until I was at his house. I didn't want to have sex. He ignored all my signals.


Alex (18) doesn’t give permission for sex

I went out with friends and met a girl at a pub. We talked all evening. She offered to stay the night at her place. I was drunk and didn't feel like cycling home. When we were in her bedroom, she wanted sex. She started groping me and doing things I didn't feel like doing at all. I didn’t say ‘no’ and didn’t defend myself. Still, I feel abused.


Jules (30) is raped by his boyfriend

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Recently, my boyfriend came home late while I was already in bed. He laid down next to me and started touching me. I wasn’t in the mood for sex and pushed him away. He kept insisting and penetrated me. My confidence has been affected. When I speak to him about this, he laughs it off.


Someone is taking advantage of Holly (27)

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I have a physical disability. A companion supports me. She sometimes takes me to the bedroom to play 'doctor'. I really don't like it. Nobody knows this. I don't dare talk about it.