What is sexual assault? 5 forms of sexual assault explained!

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and we thought it would be a great idea to give you a run down on exactly what sexual assault is, as well as the different forms of sexual assault. Any type of unwanted (non-consensual) sexual act, whether it’s verbal, physical, written or digital is sexual assault. Any gender, culture, ethnicity or sexuality can experience sexual assault or can be a perpetrator.

Sexual harassment:

According to Reachout.com sexual harassment is any form unwanted sexual behaviour that’s offensive, humiliating or intimidating. This includes verbal harassment and unwelcomed sexual comments like catcalling, touching, groping or grabbing without consent, online harassment, staring, making sexual jokes or comments to you or about you, asking questions about your sex life or making sexual insults about you. The list goes on unfortunately, but these are some of the most common forms of sexual harassment.

Rape:

Rape Crisis defines rape as “a violent crime in which a person uses sexual acts to intentionally harm and hurt another.” Please note that rape is not sex. Sex implies that consent was freely given, however rape is when consent hasn’t been given, was denied or could not be given. Rape and sex are two very different things.

Attempted rape:

This is when someone tries to rape another person, but does not go through with it usually due to circumstances or events they can’t control in the moment. For example, someone assisting the survivor and helping them out of the situation.

Online sexual assault:

Sexual assault and harassment can happen anywhere including digital spaces and platforms. Cyberbullying, sexual abuse and exploitation have unfortunately become very common in online spaces. Common examples are unwanted sexts, pictures of genitalia, or pictures /videos of a suggestive or sexual nature being sent to you without your consent. It also includes your own pictures or videos being shared without your consent, as well as discriminatory comments based on someone’s gender or sexual orientation.

Voyeurism:

This is when someone gets sexual pleasure from watching others (without their consent or awareness) while they’re busy with activities that are usually done in private like getting undressed. Voyeurism also includes spying on people or someone that’s involved in any form of sexual activity.

If you need any support or know someone who might here are a few organisations to reach out to:

TEARS

Helpline: *134*7355#
Landline: 010 590 5920
Email: info@tears.co.za

Rape Crisis

Free counselling:

English: 021 447 9762

Afrikaans: 021 633 9229

isiXhosa: 021 361 9085

WhatsApp: 083 222 5164

POWA

Landline: 011 642 4345/6
Email: itumeleng@powa.co.za