WHAT IS SEXUAL VIOLENCE?
Sexual violence happens in every community and affects people of all genders and ages. The impacts of sexual violence affect individuals, families, communities, and society as a whole. But prevention is possible. Together, we can change the conditions that contribute to sexual violence. You can learn the facts about sexual violence and play an active role in changing misconceptions.
What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact. This can include words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will and without their consent. Consent is voluntary, mutual, and can be withdrawn at any time. Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs. A person may use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence. Anyone can experience sexual violence, including children, teens, adults, and elders. Those who sexually abuse can be acquaintances, family members, trusted individuals, or strangers.
Sexual Violence is Preventable
We can all help create a culture of empathy, respect, and equity. Prevention starts with challenging victim-blaming and believing survivors when they disclose. In your personal life, you can model supportive relationships and behaviors and speak up when you hear sexist, racist, transphobic, or homophobic comments. Each of us is essential in challenging harmful attitudes and the societal acceptance of rape.
Victims are Never at Fault
It doesn’t matter what someone is wearing or how they are acting, victims are never to blame. A person may use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence. An absence of injuries to the victim does not indicate consent.
Rape is Often not Reported or Convicted
Many victims who do report a rape or sexual assault find that there is no arrest or conviction.
- The majority of sexual assaults, an estimated 63%, are never reported to the police (Rennison, 2002).
- The prevalence of false reporting cases of sexual violence is low (Lisak et al., 2010), yet when survivors come forward, many face scrutiny or encounter barriers.
There are many reasons why someone may choose not to report to law enforcement or tell anyone about an experience. Some include:
- Concern about not being believed
- Fear of the attackers getting back at them
- Shame or fear of being blamed
- Pressure from others not to tell
- Distrust of law enforcement
- Belief that there is not enough evidence
- Desire to protect the attacker
For more information please visit: www.nsvrs.org/saam
Local Action for Sexual Assault Awareness Month
ST. CLAIRSVILLE- In preparation for Sexual Assault Awareness Month in April, the Belmont County Sheriff’s Department hosted an event Thursday to show support for victims’ advocacy organizations officers.