Encyclopedia of Critical Psychology

2014 Edition
| Editors: Thomas Teo

Sexual Violence

Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-5583-7_605

Introduction and Definition

Sexual violence is an umbrella term that refers to an inclusive category of sexual acts and experiences that are imposed, coerced, or forced onto a person. Rape, attempted rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual violation, and so on are all included. While some forms of sexual violence involve physical violence or force, not all forms do. Some uses of the term include a wider range of acts of sexual exploitation or denigration, such as verbal sexual harassment. What ties all these phenomena together is the sexual or sexualized act upon or towards another without that person’s consent. In this sense they all violate a person’s rights to dignity, respect, and control over their own body.

Sexual violence is endemic within most, if not all, societies. Anyone can be subject to sexual violence, but it is most commonly carried out by men against women, girls, and to a lesser extent boys. Although it is difficult to measure, conservative estimates from carefully...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyThe University of AucklandAucklandNew Zealand