Sexual abuse is a form of coercive control and occurs when somebody forces, pressures or tricks another person into doing sexual things they do not want to do. Even if you are married or in a relationship, any forced sexual experience that makes you feel scared or uncomfortable can be considered sexual abuse.
Reproductive abuse is a form of sexual abuse that removes the ability to make personal choices over reproduction. It may include impacting choices about period or menstrual cycles, pregnancy, birth and contraceptive methods.
Rachel lives in rural WA. She has been dating Tom for the past few months. They met at work. Recently, Rachel has felt under pressure to engage in sexual intimacy. While she has explained to Tom that she is not ready yet, he won’t take no for an answer. He has even suggested they have a threesome with one of their colleagues. When she confronted him about it, he told her it was a ‘joke’ and that she is too sensitive. It continues to make Rachel feel uncomfortable especially as they work together. She wants to end the relationship but is worried she will have to change jobs to get away from him.
- Posting sexual images of you on the internet without your permission
- Sexually degrading comments
- Forced marriage
- Female circumcision and genital mutilation
- Unwanted sexual advances
- Being physically restrained during sex (e.g. being tied up)
- Forced prostitution
- Restricting your access to birth control or purposely sabotaging it's effectiveness
- Forced pregnancy and abortion
Find Support to Healthy Practices
Yourtoolkit.com offers a free step-by-step guide on personal safety, support services and money matters for people facing family and domestic violence. If you are experiencing sexual abuse, you may find these website sections particularly helpful.
2. Act Now
Sexual Assault Resource Centre
Women’s Domestic Violence Helpline
For further resources
- What it means to consent to sex or sexual activity
- What to do if you’ve realised a past experience was sexual assault
- How to talk with a loved one about sexual violence
- Traumatic sexual experiences - crisis and counselling services
- Violence in teenage dating relationships
- Unplanned pregnancy in abusive relationships
For a deeper
- Telling your story and getting help
- The nature and extent of sexual assault and abuse in Australia
- Work plan to strengthen criminal justice responses to sexual assault, 2022 - 2027
- Talking about trauma – a guide to everyday conversations for the general public
- Reproductive coercion and abuse - Practice Guide