What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual Violence is a term that identifies a range of behaviors in which an act of sexual nature is perpetrated against an individual without consent of when an individual in unable to give consent. This includes unwanted touching, attempted rape, and forced penetration.


What is consent and what would make someone unable to give it?

Consent is an active agreement to engage in mutually acceptable sexual activity. It is never implied or assumed, even in the context of a relationship. The absence of a “no” doesn’t mean “yes”. Consent to one for of sexual activity does not imply consent to other forms of sexual activity. It cannot be obtained from someone who is asleep, unconscious, or incapacitated (from drugs or alcohol). Consent cannot be obtained by threat, coercion, intimidation, isolation, confinement, or force.


What is Dating Violence?

Dating Violence is a pattern of abusive and controlling behavior that someone uses against a former or current intimate partner with the intent to have power over that person. Abuse can come in many different forms and at various levels of severity-- it often escalates over time.


What are the different forms of abuse?

 - Emotional or Psychological Abuse includes yelling, name-calling, blaming, isolation, intimidation, extreme jealousy, and irrational accusations.

 - Physical Abuse includes hitting, grabbing, strangling, throwing things, and assault with a weapon.

 - Sexual Abuse includes rape, unwanted video taping, or using drugs or alcohol to impair someone’s ability to give consent.

 - Economic of Financial Abuse includes stealing from someone, monitoring their spending, harassing them at work, preventing them from studying, or expecting obedience in exchange for gifts.


What is Stalking?

Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention which threatens and/or causes fear in the victim. Stalking can include:

- Repeatedly following or spying on someone.

- Repeatedly calling their home and/or work.

- Sending unwanted e-mails, letters, Facebook messages, text messages, etc.

- Leaving unwanted gifts or items.

- Vandalizing or damaging property.

- Making threats to someone or their family and friends. 

- Repeatedly showing up at places for no legitimate purpose.

Definitions courtesy of Penn Violence Prevention through the Penn Women’s Center.