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What is Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is multifaced. The sexual violence pyramid is a way to understand the interconnectedness of sexual violence with cultural attitudes, beliefs, and ideas. It is “an attempt to explain how our norms and beliefs allows for an environment where sexual violence can occur,” according to The AZ Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence.

Sexual Violence Pyramid
Acts and Behaviors
Unwanted Touching
Child Sexual Assault
Verbal Abuse
Sexual Coercion
Sexual Harrassment
Sexist Jokes
Rape Jokes
Homophobic/Transphobic Jokes
Sexual Objectification
Rigid Gender Norms

“In the late 1980s the Feminist scholar Liz Kelly (1988) proposed her “continuum of sexual violence” that suggested that women’s experience of sexual harm could not be contained within legal parameters that defined sexual offences. Her research showed that women experienced many unwanted sexual acts within what could be considered to be “consensual” relationships (e.g., marriage or long-established intimate relationships). This concept continues to be influential (see, e.g., Gavey, 2005) in developing theories of sexual violence that incorporate nonreported, reported, and convicted acts of sexual harm.” -Journals SAGE Pub 

To end sexual violence, we must change these cultural ideas.