Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact, ranging from sexist attitudes and actions to rape and murder. Sexual violence can include words and actions of a sexual nature against a person’s will. An offender might also use force, threats, manipulation, or coercion to commit sexual violence.
There is a social context that surrounds sexual violence. Social norms that promote violence, using power over others, unhealthy concepts about masculinity, the subjugation of women, and silence about violence and abuse contribute to the occurrence of sexual violence.
Oppression in all of its forms is among the root causes of sexual violence. Sexual violence is preventable through collaborations of community members at multiple levels of society: homes, neighborhoods, schools, faith settings, workplaces, and other settings. We all play a role in preventing sexual violence and establishing norms of respect, safety, equality, and helping others.