Defining Sexual Violence


What do we mean by and what counts as Sexual Violence (SV)?  


Any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work”
(W.H.O. 2002)

Any physical, visual, verbal or sexual act that is experienced by the woman or girl, at the time or later, as a threat, invasion or assault, that has the effect of hurting her or degrading her and or/takes away her ability to control intimate contact” 
(Liz Kelly 1988)


Discussion points

These definitions are quite broad and inclusive. They include all acts experienced by women as constituting sexual assault. Victim centred, focused on experience of individual and draw on research across many fields