Sexual violence: definitions

TW: Sexual violence, sexual assault, rape

I think it’s very important to know the definitions and types of sexual violence. For the longest time I waved away what had happened to me in the past. It was different, I thought, because he was my boyfriend. Now I know that anyone can be a victim of sexual violence regardless of the relationship with the aggressor, gender, or socioeconomic status.

Please take a read below of the definition of sexual violence from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. If you have been a victim of sexual violence, please seek help. You are not alone and #IBelieveYou.

Source: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/definitions.html

Sexual violence is defined as a sexual act committed against someone without that person’s freely given consent.  Sexual violence is divided into the following types:

  • Completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim
  • Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated penetration of a victim
  • Completed or attempted forced acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
  • Completed or attempted alcohol/drug-facilitated acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else
  • Non-physically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally or through intimidation or misuse of authority to consent or acquiesce
  • Unwanted sexual contact
  • Non-contact unwanted sexual experiences

Completed or attempted forced penetration of a victim ─ includes completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal insertion through use of physical force or threats to bring physical harm toward or against the victim. Examples include

  • Pinning the victim’s arms
  • Using one’s body weight to prevent movement or escape
  • Use of a weapon or threats of weapon use
  • Assaulting the victim

Completed or attempted alcohol or drug-facilitated penetration of a victim ─ includes completed or attempted unwanted vaginal (for women), oral, or anal insertion when the victim was unable to consent because he or she was too intoxicated (e.g., incapacitation, lack of consciousness, or lack of awareness) through voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs.

Completed or attempted forced acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else ─includes situations when the victim was made, or there was an attempt to make the victim, sexually penetrate a perpetrator or someone else without the victim’s consent because the victim was physically forced or threatened with physical harm. Examples include

  • Pinning the victim’s arms
  • Using one’s body weight to prevent movement or escape
  • Use of a weapon or threats of weapon use
  • Assaulting the victim

Completed or attempted alcohol or drug-facilitated acts in which a victim is made to penetrate a perpetrator or someone else ─ includes situations when the victim was made, or there was an attempt to make the victim, sexually penetrate a perpetrator or someone else without the victim’s consent because the victim was unable to consent because he or she was too intoxicated (e.g., incapacitation, lack of consciousness, or lack of awareness) through voluntary or involuntary use of alcohol or drugs.

Nonphysically forced penetration which occurs after a person is pressured verbally, or through intimidation or misuse of authority, to consent or submit to being penetrated – examples include being worn down by someone who repeatedly asked for sex or showed they were unhappy; feeling pressured by being lied to, or being told promises that were untrue; having someone threaten to end a relationship or spread rumors; and sexual pressure by use of influence or authority.

Unwanted sexual contact – intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person without his or her consent, or of a person who is unable to consent or refuse. Unwanted sexual contact can be perpetrated against a person or by making a person touch the perpetrator. Unwanted sexual contact could be referred to as “sexual harassment” in some contexts, such as a school or workplace.

Noncontact unwanted sexual experiences – does not include physical contact of a sexual nature between the perpetrator and the victim. This occurs against a person without his or her consent, or against a person who is unable to consent or refuse. Some acts of non-contact unwanted sexual experiences occur without the victim’s knowledge. This type of sexual violence can occur in many different settings, such as school, the workplace, in public, or through technology. Examples include unwanted exposure to pornography or verbal sexual harassment (e.g., making sexual comments).

Right now

I hate how you made me feel. I hate how you took my trust for granted and manipulated me, knowing I would always give you the benefit of the doubt. You lied and I would believe you because I thought that someone who said they loved me would never lie to me. I thought that someone who said they loved me wouldn’t push me past my comfort zone, or manipulate me, or violate me the way you did.

You know, for the longest time I blamed myself, as I believe many others in my situation do. I thought I should have put my foot down. I should have ended it right away. I should have said no louder, angrier, more forcefully. Those tears and that quiver in my voice shouldn’t have been there. I should have been stronger and then I wouldn’t be where I am today.

As I moved forward, away from you, I put my walls up and prepared for the worst. I was convinced that everyone I was with after you was just like you. I realize now that all these years and even today,  I somehow still blame myself. I told myself that I’m a bad person, and anyone I’m with will eventually see that. When that happens, I know that their eyes will wander and they will find someone better. I am but a stepping stone that is only there to be used.

I am starting to see now that the problem was you. You were so insecure and afraid that you put me down so I was on your level. You sought validation from other girls and used their attention to inflate your own sense of self worth. You were selfish and greedy, so you always took more and more from me even when I told you I had had enough.

Now I am far away from you and I see how love should be, but somehow I am still haunted by the past. I am told to be mindful and grateful for what I have, and I try my best, but I think before I can heal, I have to process what happened. It’s been 7 years. It’s about time.