What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any form of unwanted or forced sexual behaviour or act that occurs without consent. Sexual assault covers a wide range of sexual behaviours or acts. It is important to remember that sexual assault is a crime.

 

Some examples of sexual violence include:

  • Stalking e.g. repeatedly being followed or watched by someone;
  • Rape e.g. being forced to have vaginal, anal or oral sex;
  • Unwanted touching e.g. pinching, patting, embracing, rubbing, groping, flicking, kissing, fondling, being touched on the breasts, bum, legs etc;
  • Sexual harassment e.g. dirty jokes or rude comments about a person’s sex life;
  • Obscene gestures e.g. simulating masturbation in front of a person;
  • Voyeurism e.g. being watched doing intimate things without permission;
  • Unwanted sexual comments or jokes e.g. comments about a person’s body or relationships;
  • Sex-related insults e.g. calling someone a slut, dyke, homo, slag etc;
  • Pressuring for dates or demand for sex e.g. invitations that turn into threats or not taking ‘no’ for an answer;
  • Indecent exposure e.g. someone showing private parts of their body or ‘flashing’ their genitals;
  • Being forced to watch or participate in porn e.g. taking a photo without permission, forcing someone to be on video, making someone watch a pornographic movie;
  • Offensive written material e.g. dirty notes, letters, phone messages, emails, SMS, pictures;
  • Incest/intrafamilial child sexual assault e.g. a family member e.g. father or brother engaging in sexual activity with a child or young person;
  • Unwanted, offensive and invasive interpersonal communication through technologies such as mobile phones, internet social networking sites and email.

Source:  Victorian Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA) Forum, 2019