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Definitions of sexual violence

Sexual violence is a broad term and can be defined as something sexual that happens to someone without them wanting it.

Sexual violence can involve being forced, coerced, or manipulated into a sexual act without consent.

It can be physical (like pushing or hitting), emotional (like name-calling or controlling behaviours). It can happen in person, and it can happen online.

Sexual violence can happen to anyone, but it more commonly affects women, girls, and trans people. It is part of a continuum of violence that is connected to prejudiced views about gender roles and misogynistic views about women. This is also known as "rape culture". This means that it is important to challenge things that some people might think of as less important, because all of those things create the kind of world where rape happens.

sexist joke pyramid

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Young survivors of sexual violence told us that this is what sexual violence means to them:


The most important thing is that sexual violence is something that is done to a person without their consent. Consent means that you give permission freely without any pressure. The law says that there are times when you are not able to give permission, like if you are too drunk, asleep, too young, or on drugs. Someone should never try to persuade, pressure, or encourage another person to do things they do not want to do. This is not consent. You are also allowed to change your mind at any time during a sexual activity, and to say yes to some sexual things and not others. If you change your mind and your partner does not respect this, this is not consent.

Reading this information might have made you realise that there are times you haven’t given consent. Please get in touch with the Rosey Project for support.





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For more information, you can visit the Glasgow and Clyde Rape Crisis website.