Sexual violence is a broad term that describes behaviours and actions that are sexual in nature and are unwanted, coerced, and committed without consent. This includes words – both written and spoken.
Sexual violence is about exerting power and control over others.
It can include a variety of acts and experiences and may also be known as sexual assault, rape, sexual abuse, exploitation, incest, date rape, and human trafficking.
Sexual violence also includes sexual harassment and catcalling, indecent exposure, stalking, showing or distributing demeaning sexual imagery, and online harassment, also known as cyber-violence.
People of all genders can be subjected to sexual violence. However, sexual violence is mostly experienced by women, children — including boys — and transgender and gender non-conforming people.
It can be a single occurrence, or can be ongoing by the same or different perpetrator.
Sexual violence can happen to people of any age.
People of all genders, races, sexual orientations and class backgrounds can be subject to sexual violence. However, some people, such as racialized and Indigenous women, women with disabilities, low-income women, women with addictions, young women, and transgender people experience higher rates.
Sexual violence is a serious health, social and public safety issue in Nova Scotia that affects all of us.