Sexual violence takes many forms. These include: rape, sexual assault, unwanted touching, fondling, sexual harassment, threats of violence, pressurised sex, stealthing, flashing, penetration by objects and childhood sexual abuse. Sexual violence is any kind of unwanted sexual behaviour. It is an abuse of power and a form of control which causes humiliation, pain, fear and intimidation.
Most forms of sexual violence are criminal offences in Scotland, and all of them can have a significant and harmful impact which can be just as distressing as rape itself.
Instances of sexual violence occur more commonly than is realised; and as many as 1 in 4 women are estimated to experience sexual violence at some point during their lives. Whilst the majority of reported incidents of sexual assault take place against women, men and those from the transgender communities are also affected and the incidence and prevalence of sexual violence at universities is widely recognised as an international and well-documented problem.