What is sexual violence?
Sexual violence means any form of unwanted sexual contact.
You may hear different words for sexual violence such as rape or sexual assault or childhood sexual abuse or sexual harassment. Other forms of sexual violence include stalking, sexual exploitation, forced marriage, and organised and ritual abuse.
Sexual violence is common. Anyone can experience it, at any age. It is difficult to know how many because many people never feel able to tell anyone and many do not report it to the police.
No right or wrong way to feel
Everyone is affected differently by sexual violence. This is no right or wrong way to feel. How you feel, or react and what you want to do, depend on your own experience.
Whatever you may feel now or whatever happened, you are not to blame. If someone has harmed you, it is not your fault. Whoever harmed you is responsible. A person commits sexual violence because they decide to do so. Sexual violence does not ‘just happen’. They had a choice about what they did.
This person (or people) may be a stranger or they may be someone you know such as a family member, partner, work colleague, or some other acquaintance.
Although there are different forms of sexual violence, the effects are similar because the experience is frightening, shocking and difficult to cope with.
You do not have to cope with this on your own. We can support you. We will listen to what you say, believe you and treat you with respect.
It is possible to recover from sexual violence.
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