Sexual abuse is using sex in an exploitative fashion or forcing sex on another person. Having consented to sexual activity in the past does not indicate current consent. Sexual abuse may involve both verbal and physical behavior. This may include, but is not limited to:
- Using force, coercion, guilt, or manipulation or not considering the victim’s desire to have sex. This may include making her have sex with others, have unwanted sexual experiences, or be involuntarily involved in prostitution.
- Exploiting a victim who is unable to make an informed decision about involvement in sexual activity because of being asleep, intoxicated, drugged, disabled, too young, too old, or dependent upon or afraid of the perpetrator.
- Laughing or making fun of another’s sexuality or body, making offensive statements, insulting, or name-calling in relation to the victim’s sexual preferences/behavior.
- Making contact with the victim in any nonconsensual way, including unwanted penetration (oral, anal or vaginal) or touching (stroking, kissing, licking, sucking or using objects) on any part of the victim’s body.
- Exhibiting excessive jealousy resulting in false accusations of infidelity and controlling behaviors to limit the victim’s contact with the outside world.
- Having affairs with other people and using that information to taunt the victim.
- Withholding sex from the victim as a control mechanism.
(Material from Women’s Center and Shelter of Greater Pittsburgh Volunteer Training Manual, AMEND, and the AzCADV safety plain Manual were used to develop this section.)