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About Sexual Violence

Definitions and Resources about Sexual Violence

Sexual Assault is any kind of sexual contact by one person against another person, without their consent. This can range from unwanted kissing or touching to rape.

Consent must be active and enthusiastic — this means that the person must be aware and involved with what is happening and that they must be excited and willing to participate. Active participants are awake, conscious and aware of all actions that are happening. Enthusiastic participants are not pressured or coerced.

Sexual Violence Info sheet

Dating or Domestic Violence is abuse (verbal, emotional, physical, resource-based and/or sexual, among others) committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the survivor.

Verbal abuse can include name-calling or belittling the person; emotional abuse can be various forms of manipulation or isolating someone as a means of controlling their behavior; physical abuse includes any form of physical violence exercised against someone, and can also include damaging their property or objects near them. Sexual violence can also occur within relationships.

All of these forms of dating/domestic violence involve elements of power and control — where one partner exercises their power over someone or tries to control the actions of the other person.

Stalking is a pattern of unwanted behavior toward someone which would cause a reasonable person to fear for their safety or the safety of others. Unwanted behaviors can include: following someone; showing up unexpectedly at their place of work/residence; repeatedly contacting someone via phone, text, email, or social media; using technology to research or track the person; sending unwanted gifts and letters; or communicating with the survivor's loved ones in order to make them fearful or concerned for their safety.

CARE Stalking Information Sheet

Human Trafficking (sex trafficking) is the crime of using force, fraud or coercion to induce another individual to sell sex. 

Sex trafficking is not something you can see happening across a crowded room. It is not a crime that occurs in an instant, like kidnapping or carjacking, that a bystander can witness and report. In fact, many people in active sex trafficking situations do not recognize themselves as being victims because they have been expertly groomed by a trafficker to believe they have chosen to participate in commercial sex (

CARE How to Help a Survivor Infosheet

Find out more information about how sexual violence affects specific communities, such as LGBTQ indivuduals, men or women of color.