What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any type of unwanted or non-consensual sexual contact or behavior. Unfortunately, sexual violence is very common.

There are many different forms of sexual violence, including:

Rape or sexual assault

Incest

Sexual harassment

Revenge porn

Multiple-perpetrator sexual assault

Date or acquaintance rape

Intimate partner sexual violence

Sexual exploitation or trafficking

Survival sex

Hate crime related sexual violence

Child sexual assault

Alcohol or drug facilitated sexual violence

Nonconsensual image sharing

Stalking

A person may use threats, coercion, their position of power, or manipulation to commit sexual violence against another person. Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault or sexual violence. However, certain populations are at greater risk of experiencing sexual assault or violence, including people with disabilities, the LGBTQ+ community, youth, people experiencing homelessness, and immigrant communities.

What is consent?

Consent is an active agreement that is given equally between partners engaging in specific sexual activity. Consent must be freely given and informed and a person can change their mind at any time. Consent is more than a yes or a no - it is an ongoing conversation about needs, wants, expectations, and level of comfort with different sexual interactions. Consent is about open and respectful communication.

Consent is not present when someone:

Says no –either verbally or physically

Feels coerced

Feels threatened or intimidated

Is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol

Is under the legal age of consent

Fears the consequences of not consenting

Fears being "outed"

Has differing abilities or language proficiency that prevent one person from making an informed decision

Impacts and reactions to sexual violence

Victims and survivors react to sexual violence in many ways. Each survivor may react differently. Reactions can be subtle, extreme, or anywhere in between. Some common reactions after experiencing sexual violence are guilt, shame, fear, numbness, memory loss, shock, or feelings of isolation. Sexual violence can have psychological, emotional, or physical impacts on a victim or survivor. If you have experienced sexual violence, know that any reaction or feelings you are experiencing are normal responses to a traumatic experience.

We live in a society that supports and normalizes sexual violence and victim blaming - we call this "rape culture." Sexual violence is never a victim's fault. CADA advocates are here to support you, listen to you, safety plan with you, and provide you with resources to help you on your journey.

Statistics

One in five women and one in 71 men will be raped at some point in their lives 

Rape is the most under-reported crime; 63% of sexual assaults are not reported to police

91% of victims of rape and sexual assault are female, and nine percent are male 

20% - 25% of college women and 15% of college men are victims of forced sex during their time in college

In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator 

In eight out of 10 cases of rape, the victim knew the perpetrator

Statistics were gathered from National Sexual Violence Resource Center. For more statistics on sexual violence, visit National Sexual Violence Resource Center

How an advocate can help

Advocates are here 24 hours a day to talk with you about your experiences, concerns, and options. CADA's services are free and confidential to all survivors. After an incident of sexual violence, victims often have a lot of questions, such as:

Do I have to report something to the police?

Should I go to the hospital?

Was what I experienced considered sexual assault?

Will I have to tell my friends or family about the incident?

An advocate can help you navigate these questions and provide you with support and tools for safety planning and healing. Advocates can support you no matter what you decide to do. Advocates can help you navigate the complexities of the justice system or health care system or other processes. Advocates can point you in the direction of resources in the community that could help you. Advocates will listen to you, and let you lead the way.

Sexual violence is preventable

"We believe that sexual violence is preventable. Together we can stop sexual violence before it even occurs." –Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault

All forms of oppression are a root cause of sexual violence. Preventing sexual violence requires collaboration - collaboration within communities, among individuals, and across systems. We all play a role in the prevention of sexual violence and establishing norms of respect, equity, and safety for all.

At CADA we are dedicated to primary prevention efforts through partnerships with area schools, community agencies and other systems partners. To learn more about CADA's prevention efforts, contact our Education Program Manager at: portera@cadamn.org or 507-625-8688 ext. 103.