Many women experience sexual abuse in their relationships and abuse includes any formof non-consensual sexual contact, coercion, force, or violence. Sexual abuse may include name calling, unwanted sexual touching, pressure into sex acts that you are not comfortable with, refusal to use contraception, deliberately causing physical pain during sex, ignoring requests to stop.
All forms of unwanted or non-consensual sexual activity, even within a relationship or a marriage, are a criminal offence, whether it happens once or is repeated.
Sexual abuse may be perpetrated by a partner, ex-partner, family member, friend of the family or someone in a position of trust or authority. In most cases it occurs where there is an imbalance of power. It may also happen online and may involve sextortion, exploiting you for sexual activities or financial gain through threats to expose images or films that could be humiliating or embarrassing.
90% of people who have been raped were assaulted by someone they knew prior to the offence. The majority of women don’t report these cases to the police.
Sometimes, sexual abuse may involve grooming, when the perpetrator will work to gain your trust and make it difficult for you to seek the support of others or to report the assaults. Grooming can also involve gaining the trust of those around you. Sexual abuse can happen at any age.
As many as 1 in 5 women in the UK will experience sexual assaults in their lifetime, rising to 1 in 3 worldwide. 31% of young women aged 18-24 report having experienced sexual abuse in childhood (NSPCC, 2011)
Whether the abuse was recent or non-recent, support is available. IDAS can provide emotional and practical support.
Listen to the IDAS Voices podcast with Hannah Green as she talks about ways to manage PTSD during lockdown.