• Sexual Assault and Partner Violence
    Sexual assault can take many different forms, whether it be through domestic or partner violence, teen dating abuse, or rape. This is an extremely difficult topic to cope with; the shame, guilt, and overwhelming emotions surrounding these issues can become debilitating for someone of any age, but especially for adolescents. Included here are some resources you can utilize if you or someone you know is coping with a problem related to sexual violence. See the blue side bar for resources.
    What is sexual assault?
    Sexual assault is any sexual or sexualized act that makes a person feel uncomfortable, intimidated or frightened. It is behavior that a person has not invited or chosen. It is a betrayal of trust and a denial of the right each person has to say what happens to her or his body. Sexual assault can be committed against adults and children, women and men, and people from all backgrounds.
    Types of Sexual Assault
    • Sexual harassment.

    • Unwanted touching or kissing.

    • Coerced or forced sexual activities or sex-related activities, including activities that involve violence or pain.

    • Exposing of genitals such as ‘flashing’.

    • Stalking.

    • Being watched by someone without your permission when you are naked or engaged in sexual activities.

    • The posting of sexual images on the Internet without consent

    • Being forced or coerced by someone to watch or participate in pornography.

    • Spiking drinks, or the use of drugs and alcohol, in order to reduce or impair a person’s capacity to make choices about sex or sexual activity.

    • Having sex with someone who is asleep, severely affected by alcohol /and or other drugs.

    • Lewd or suggestive jokes, stories or showing of sexualized pictures, as part of a pattern of coercive, intimidating or exploitive behavior.

    • Rape (penetration of any orifice by any object).

    • The ‘grooming’ of a child or vulnerable person to engage in sexual activities of any kind.

    • Any sexual act with a child.

    Sexual assault is not the same as sexual expression. Sexual assault is unwanted sexual behavior or acts that use intimidation, coercion or force to exercise power or deny someone’s right to choose. Sexual assault and abuse can be one-off events, or part of a pattern of violence. It has a range of effects, including physical, emotional and psychological effects (1800RESPECT, 2015).
    Many abusive partners may seem absolutely perfect in the early stages of a relationship. Possessive and controlling behaviors don’t always appear overnight, but rather emerge and intensify as the relationship grows.

    Domestic violence doesn’t look the same in every relationship because every relationship is different. But one thing most abusive relationships have in common is that the abusive partner does many different kinds of things to have more power and control over their partners.

    If you’re beginning to feel as if your partner or a loved one’s partner is becoming abusive, there are a few behaviors that you can look out for. Watch out for these red flags and if you’re experiencing one or more of them in your relationship, call the hotline to talk about what’s going on:
    • Telling you that you can never do anything right
    • Showing jealousy of your friends and time spent away
    • Keeping you or discouraging you from seeing friends or family members
    • Embarrassing or shaming you with put-downs
    • Controlling every penny spent in the household
    • Taking your money or refusing to give you money for expenses
    • Looking at you or acting in ways that scare you
    • Controlling who you see, where you go, or what you do
    • Preventing you from making your own decisions
    • Telling you that you are a bad parent or threatening to harm or take away children
    • Preventing you from working or attending school
    • Destroying your property or threatening to hurt or kill your pets
    • Intimidating you with guns, knives or other weapons
    • Pressuring you to have sex when you don’t want to or do things sexually you’re not comfortable with
    • Pressuring you to use drugs or alcohol

    (The National Domestic Violence Hotline, 2015)