Many people ask what are the definitions of sexual violence/abuse.  Today’s column focuses on identifying what is sexual abuse/violence, rape, and coercion.

The Continuum of Sexual Abuse

Abuse of Sexuality is harassment that occurs when somebody does not conform to traditional gender stereotypes or being punished through the use of sex.

Witness Activity is showing a child pornographic materials and unwanted exposure to one or more other people engaging in sexual behavior.

Advances/Seduction is unwanted sexual advances and situations in which seductive dynamics are disguised or confusing.

Coercion is being pressured into participating in unwanted sexual activity.

Physical manipulation is placing a child’s hand on another person’s genitals or other body location(s) that stimulate a response and touching a child’s genitals or other body locations.

Sexual Invasion(coerced or forced) is the insertion or penetration of any orifice of a child’s body with a penis, finger, or an object of any sort and may involve the use of weapons, alcohol, drugs, etc.

Institutionally sanctioned sexual contact is the overt or covert sexual contact by anyone representing or perceived to be representing an institution, this may include agencies that are caretaking, religious, recreational, educational, etc.

This list was supplied by Jim Struve, LCSW at the National Sexual Assault Forum being held this week in Alexandria, Virginia

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