Know The Facts

Violence is experienced in many forms and impacts survivors in a variety of ways that are unique to each individual. To help better understand the many forms of violence and how they can often intersect, learn more about each definition below.

What Is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence occurs any time a person is forced, coerced, or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity; or any other time consent to participate in a sexual activity is not freely and willfully given. 

Consent means not only that someone agrees to participate in a certain behavior, but that they have the physical and mental capacity to consent and to do so free from threats, pressure and coercion.  If sexual boundaries are crossed, sexual violence is happening; it is never an accident or misunderstanding.

Sexual violence does not happen because of intimacy or desire; it is motivated by various forms of power and control. Physical features, sex organs, gender identity, sexual orientation, abilities, clothing choices, prior sexual encounters, using intoxicating substances, etc., are not qualifiers or disqualifiers for sexual violence.

Sexual violence can occur across the life span ranging from childhood to adolescence to adulthood and older adulthood. Sexual violence violates a person’s trust, autonomy and feeling of safety. 

What Is Domestic Violence?

Domestic violence is a pattern of behaviors carried out by a person in a relationship to maintain power and control over another.

Domestic violence perpetrators often utilize some of the following tactics as mechanisms for their control:

  • Physical Assaults
  • Sexual Assaults
  • Emotional Abuse
  • Verbal Abuse
  • Social Isolation
  • Financial Abuse
  • Stalking
  • Threats
  • Intimidation

The relationships where domestic violence occurs are not easily defined by a set of circumstances or characteristics. People experiencing domestic violence may be married to their partner, formerly married, dating, living with their partner, have a child in common, separated or otherwise in a relationship with each other. 

We are open to understanding domestic violence in a comprehensive manner and will stay informed of changes and the sharing of best practices in the movement as we work to increase ours and our communities’ awareness of the issue. 

What Is Dating Violence?

Dating violence, like domestic violence, is a pattern of behaviors intentionally and willfully used by an intimate partner to gain or maintain control over the other person in the relationship. The abuser uses physical and sexual violence; emotional, verbal, and financial abuse; social isolation; stalking; or any sort of threats or intimidation. A dating relationship could mean a current or past dating partner, monogamous or not, serious or casual. Dating violence can effect anyone—it does not see gender identity, sexual orientation, race, religious preferences, economic class, etc.

What Is Stalking?

Stalking is willful conduct directed at a specific person to cause them to feel frightened, harassed, or otherwise emotionally distressed. These behaviors can include but are not limited to being followed or watched at home, work, or elsewhere; unwanted phone calls, texts, letters, email, gifts, or visits; belongings are stolen, replaced, or moved; intimidation or harassment of family and friends, etc. Often, stalking is connected with a relationship, beginning either during the course of the relationship or after it has ended. In these cases, the stalker may be attempting to regain or maintain power and control over their partner. Many survivors who are stalked by a current or former intimate partner also report having been physically or sexually assaulted by the same person who stalked them.