What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including but not restricted to: rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, sexual harassment, rape within marriage / relationships, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, sexual exploitation, and ritual abuse. 
Sexual violence can be perpetrated by a complete stranger, or by someone known and even trusted, such as a friend, colleague, family member, partner or ex-partner. Sexual violence can happen to anyone. Anyone, of any gender or sexual orientation, can be subjected to sexual violence.
If you live with, or are still in close contact with your abuser, you may also be experiencing domestic abuse which is also never okay. 

What is Sexual Assault?

A person commits sexual assault if they intentionally touch another person, the touching is sexual and the person does not consent. It involves all unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature and ranges from pinching, embracing, groping and kissing, to rape and sexual assault which involves penetration without consent. All forms of sexual assault are sexual violence. 


Getting consent means actively gaining someone's permission to do something before doing it. 
Sexual consent means a person willingly agrees to engage in sexual activity. You should respect other people's bodies and personal boundaries. So always make sure your partner is participating freely and readily. If you are going to be sexually active whilst at university, it is important that you understand consent. 

Consent must be

Given freely and enthusiastically
You should not pressure, force, manipulate or coerce anybody into to doing anything they do not want to do.
A conscious decision
A person cannot consent if they are asleep, passed out or under the influence of alcohol or drugs. If you are unsure about whether someone is able to give consent you should not engage in sexual activity with that person.
They can change their minds at any time. Consenting to one type of sexual activity is not consenting to all sexual activity.

This video about tea and consent sometimes helps put this in context (Copyright ©2015 Emmeline May and Blue Seat Studios)


Our Sexual Violence Liaison Officer (SVLO) can work with you one-to-one to talk you through your support options and reporting options, both within the University and externally. They will support you through whatever choices are right for you. You can access support from an SVLO whether something has happened recently or some time ago. Support is confidential and you will not be pressured into taking any particular course of action.  Complete this form to contact the SVLO.

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