Being a victim of violence, aggression or sexual abuse is one of the hardest and most humiliating situations a human being can go through, and it takes a long time for the person who suffers it to overcome the traumatic event. Feeling that one’s intimacy has been tortured and abused leaves serious psychological and relational consequences for the person who has been the object of this cruel and inhuman act.

There are different forms of sexual violence. In this article we review them.

What is sexual violence

Sexual violence refers to sexual activity where there is no consent by one of the persons involved . Although women are the most harmed by this phenomenon, anyone can experience sexual violence, regardless of gender, age, race, religion, income level, ability, profession, ethnicity and sexual orientation.

The perpetrators of these evil acts may or may not have a relationship with the victim: a friend, an acquaintance, a co-worker, a neighbor, a caregiver or a family member are some examples. However, statistics show that, in many cases, the victims of sexual violence knew the perpetrators.

Some facts about it

A study by Maston and Klaus, published in 2005, states that 73% of adult victims have some kind of relationship with their abusers , 38% were friends, 28% were their partners and 7% were their relatives. In the case of minors, the reality is even more worrying, since 90% of the victims knew their aggressors, according to a Greenfeld study carried out in 1996.

Data from research by Tjaden & Thoennes (2000) show that 1 in 33 men have experienced rape or attempted rape. In the case of women, the data conclude that 1 in 6 have been raped or attempted rape.

Types of sexual violence

There are many types of sexual violence, as this act includes activities that are not necessarily characterized by physical contact between the victim and the perpetrator. However, sexual violence always includes some form of differential power, coercion, threat and/or physical force.

But, what types of sexual violence exist? How can we classify these horrible behaviors? Here is a list of the different types of sexual violence:

According to gravity

Depending on the severity, sexual violence can be classified in different ways.

1. Sexual harassment

This type of sexual violence occurs when the person who commits the act takes advantage of his or her position of superiority to ask for sexual favors. The victim is threatened and intimidated to carry out these acts against his/her will . It tends to occur more frequently in the work environment, although it also occurs in education.

2. Sexual abuse

In this type of case, the abuser attacks the sexual freedom of the victim by means of deception and coercion. As a main feature of this type of sexual violence, the victims cannot give their consent, since they do not have the intellectual capacity or the will to do so. as may be the case with children or persons with disabilities. Fondling, explicit verbal propositions, and penetration are all part of sexual abuse.

3. Sexual assault

In this case the sexual freedom of the victim is affected because the aggressor uses violence to and intimidation to eat the act. Rape is the most serious case of sexual assault. It occurs when there is penetration of the member, but also when objects are introduced through the vaginal and anal routes.

Depending on the type of aggressor

Depending on the aggressor, different types of sexual violence can occur

4. Sexual assault by an acquaintance

This type of sexual assault is characterized by the fact that the perpetrator is an acquaintance . Either a friend, or a date, or someone close to the victim. They tend to be very frequent, as people who are known have information about the victim and are more likely to know how to commit the crime without having to endure the negative consequences of a criminal process.

5. Sexual assault by a stranger

Some people are sexually assaulted when they simply walk down the street, with no prior contact with the abuser. In this case, the victim does not know the aggressor . Many times it is the case that the attacker chooses a victim almost at random as part of an impulsive reaction.

6. Sexual assault by a family member

Although many people find it hard to believe, relatives also sexually assault other family members . This is a type of aggression that, unlike the previous one, can last for a long time. The victim feels so ashamed that it takes some time before he or she speaks out.

7. Aggression by a partner

This type of sexual assault occurs when the perpetrator is the current partner of the victim (married or not) or is the ex-partner. Feelings of revenge are common in this type of act, and may explain the reason for the attack.

Depending on the type of victim

Depending on the victim, the assault can be classified in different ways.

8. Sexual abuse of minors

Through deception or bribery the abuser takes control of the sexual freedom of the minor victim . It can happen within the family or outside it.

  • More information: “Child Abuse: Physical and Psychological Aftermath in Abused Children”

9. Sexual assault on men

Although many people do not believe it, statistics show that 1 in 33 men have been victims or have suffered an attempt of sexual aggression . Furthermore, this is a reality about which relatively little is known; more research is needed about the contexts in which these attacks occur, especially beyond the prison.

10. Sexual assault on women

It is the most frequent form of sexual abuse . It occurs both in the West and in less developed countries. Many women have been victims or have suffered an attempt of sexual aggression.

Other types of sexual violence

There are other types of sexual assault. They are as follows:

11. Drug-facilitated sexual assault

When drugs have been used to induce sexual assault, this type of drug is referred to. Alcohol is still one of the most commonly used substances. Although today, other drugs such as GHB or Burundanga are used to suppress the will of victims.

12. Sexual exploitation

One form of sexual violence is sexual exploitation . It occurs when a person is forced, threatened and coerced into having sex without their consent. The exploiter, moreover, makes an economic profit at his or her own expense.

13. Incest

Incest is the sexual relationship that occurs between relatives who share the same blood or who come from a common source. For many experts it is also a form of sexual abuse, as there may be family pressure for the victim to have sex and marry another family member.

Bibliographic references:

  • Maston, C., & Klaus, P. (2005) Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2003 tablas estadísticas: Encuesta nacional sobre victimización delictiva (NCJ 207811).
  • Tjaden, P., y Thoeness, N. (2000). Prevalence, incidence and consequences of violence against women: findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey (NCJ183781).