What is sexual assault?
Sexual Assault is an unwanted or forced sexual act, activity or behaviour without your informed consent. Sexual activity also includes anything sexual online or using a mobile phone. Sexual assault is never ok and it is never your fault!
What does Without Informed Consent mean?
Informed consent cannot occur when the person being victimised is rendered incapable of giving consent because they are:
- Feeling pressured or manipulated
- Under the influence of drugs or alcohol
- Passed out
- Suffering a ‘freeze response’, which is when a person freezes and cannot move their body body or talk
- Too scared to resist the assault for fear of further harm or being killed, or is fearful of future harassment either online or in person
- Outnumbered by the number of perpetrators
- Has a disability that is being exploited
- A child – in Queensland the legal age of consent is 16 years old. A child’s developmental cognitive capacity does not allow them to understand the sexual behaviour being exhibited towards them
What is sexual coercion
Sexual coercion is when someone pressures or tricks you into doing things of a sexual nature that you don’t want to do. It involves behaviour that may not always be criminal, but is generally abusive in some way. Sexual coercion can include someone:
- Saying they’ll leave you or have sex with someone else if you don’t have sex with them
- Trying to get you to drink more than you want to so you’ll agree to sex
- Making you feel guilty for not having sex when they want
- Telling you it’s your duty to have sex with them
- Saying that you owe them
- Making you feel scared to refuse because of what they might do. This might be a fear of physical violence, but can also include fear of them saying bad things about you to others, sharing private or damaging information about you on the internet, or taking away support, money, children or pets.
- Saying they will get you out of debt, provide you with drugs, let you stay at their house, or help you with a problem if you have sex with them
- Holding you down, yelling at you or trying to scare you into having sex.
Sexual coercion can happen with all kinds of people, including people you are in a relationship with, a friend, colleague, boss, neighbour, acquaintance and more. Call us on 1800 010 120 if you are unsure.
Types of sexual assault / sexual abuse
This list includes some types of sexual violence, but there are many others. If you don’t feel right about something that has happened to you, it is OK to ask for help. Sexual violence can include people:
- Looking at or touching your private parts or genitals (the parts of your body covered by your underwear, including your breasts, bottom, vagina and penis)
- Putting their genitals, fingers or anything else inside you when you don’t want them to
- Touching any part of your body in a sexual way when you don’t want them to
- Showing you their genitals or ‘flashing’
- Sexually harassing you—this means to bother you with sexual behaviour that you don’t want. It can include:
- Staring at you in ways that make you uncomfortable
- Saying sexual things or telling rude jokes
- Showing you pictures of naked people, or people doing sexual things
- Emailing, texting or sending you sexual messages or pictures
- Bothering you on social media with sexual messages, posts or pictures
- Following you and saying or doing sexual things
- Touching you in ways you don’t want to be touched
- Watching you when you are naked or doing sexual things
- Taking off a condom before or during sex without your permission
- Posting sexual pictures of you on the internet when you don’t want them to
- Making you watch or be in pornography (videos or photos of sex or sexual things)
- Stopping you from making your own choices about whether or not to have a baby
- ‘Grooming’ of a child. Grooming means when a person who wants to sexually hurt a child gets the child to trust them.
- Any sexual act with a child. Doing anything sexual with a child is against the law.
- Doing sexual things to you when you can’t make the kinds of choices you would normally make. For example, when alcohol or drugs have left you confused about what is happening or what you are agreeing to.
Call the Sexual Assault Helpline
Counsellors are available from 7:30am until 11:30pm, 7 days.