Sexual Abuse


Sexual Abuse

The following are examples of sexual abuse:

  • Unwanted touching
  • Demanding sex
  • Forcing sex
  • Name-calling with sexual epithets
  • Demanding sex after a violent incident
  • Forcing you to engage in prostitution or pornography
  • Forcing you to have sex with others besides your partner
  • Insisting on anything sexual that frightens or hurts you
  • Refusing to use safe sex practices
  • Preventing you from using birth control
  • Controlling your decisions about pregnancy and/or abortion
  • Withholding sex as a form of control
  • Videotaping or photographing sexual acts and posting it without your permission
  • Alleging that you have a history of prostitution on legal papers
  • Telling you that “as a matter of law” in the United States that you must continue to have sex with him whenever he wants until you are divorced.

Check out Sexual Assault FAQs for information about sexual violence.

Return to Types of Abuse.

A Note on Terminology

Domestic violence/relationship abuse refers to intimate relationships, not child abuse. Because the vast majority of relationship abuse is committed by men against women in heterosexual relationships, this website sometimes contains the female gender pronoun when referring to the abused person. Domestic violence/relationship happens at the same rate in LGBTQQ relationships and all of the information on this site is relevant for male victims and for individuals in same-gender relationships. In addition, please see our resources on same-gender relationships. Our goal is to encourage helping professionals to be gender inclusive. This includes using gender-neutral language when working with individuals, while continuing to analyze gender as a construct that has implications on gender-based violence in both heterosexual and same-gender relationships.