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The 13 types of sexual assault (characteristics and effects)

The 13 types of sexual assault (characteristics and effects)

August 8, 2022

Being a victim of violence, aggression or sexual abuse is one of the hardest and most humiliating situations by which the human being can pass, and the person who suffers it takes a long time to overcome the traumatic event. Feeling that one's intimacy has been tortured and run over leaves serious psychological and relational consequences for the person who has been the object of this cruel and inhuman act.

There are different forms of sexual violence. In this article we review them.

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence refers to sexual activity where there is no consent by one of the people involved . Although women are the most affected by this phenomenon, anyone can experience sexual violence, regardless of gender, age, race, religion, income level, ability, profession, ethnicity and sexual orientation.


The perpetrators of these evil acts may or may not have a relationship with the victim: a friend, an acquaintance, a co-worker, a neighbor, a caregiver or a family member are some examples. However, statistics show that, in many cases, victims of sexual violence knew the aggressors.

  • Recommended article: "The 11 types of violence and the different kinds of aggression"

Some facts about it

A study by Maston and Klaus, published in 2005, states that 73% of adult victims have some kind of relationship with their aggressors , 38% were people with whom they maintained friendship, 28% were their partner and 7% were their relatives. In the case of minors, the reality is even more worrisome, since 90% of the victims knew their aggressors, according to a study by Greenfeld in 1996.


Data from an investigation by Tjaden & Thoennes (2000) show that 1 out of every 33 men has experienced some rape or attempted rape. In the case of women, the data conclude that 1 in 6 have been raped or have suffered an attempted rape.

Types of sexual violence

There are many types of sexual violence, since this act includes activities that are not necessarily characterized by physical contact between the victim and the perpetrator. Now, sexual violence always includes some kind of differential power, coercion, threat and / or physical force.

But, What types of sexual violence are there? How can we classify these horrible behaviors? Below you can find a list of the different types of sexual violence:

  • Related article: "Psychological profile of the rapist: 12 features in common"

According to the severity

Depending on the severity, sexual violence can be classified in different ways.


1. Sexual harassment

This type of sexual violence occurs when the person who commits the act takes advantage of his position of superiority to ask for sexual favors. The victim is threatened and intimidated to perform these acts against his will . It tends to occur more frequently in the workplace, although it is also educational.

2. Sexual abuse

In this type of character is characterized by the abuser attempts against the sexual freedom of the victim through deception and coercion. As the main feature of this type of sexual violence, victims can not give their consent, since they do not have the intellectual capacity or the will to do so. As it may be the case of children or people with disabilities. Caresses, explicit verbal propositions, and penetration are part of sexual abuse.

3. Sexual aggression

In this case, the sexual freedom of the victim is affected because the aggressor uses violence. to and intimidation to eat the act. Rape is the most serious case of sexual assault. It happens when there is penetration of the member, but also when objects are introduced vaginally and anally.

According to the type of aggressor

Different types of sexual violence can occur depending on the aggressor

4. Sexual assault by an acquaintance

This type of sexual assault is characterized by whoever carries them out is an acquaintance . Be it a friend, or an appointment, or someone close to the victim. They tend to be very frequent, given that known people have information about the victim and are more likely to know how to commit the crime without having to endure the negative consequences of a criminal process.

5. Sexual assault by a stranger

Some people are sexually assaulted when they simply walk down the street, without prior contact with the aggressor. In this case, the victim does not know the aggressor . It is often the case that the attacker chooses a victim almost at random as part of an impulsive reaction.

6. Sexual assault by a relative

Although many people find it hard to believe, family members also sexually assault other family members . This is a type of aggression that, unlike the previous one, can last for a long time. The victim feels so embarrassed that it takes a while until it is pronounced.

7. Aggression by a sentimental partner

This type of sexual assault occurs when the perpetrator is the victim's current partner (married or not) or is the ex-partner. The feelings of revenge are habitual in this type of acts, and can explain the reason for the attack.

According to the type of victim

Depending on the victim, aggression can be classified in different ways.

8. Sexual abuse of minors

Through cheating or bribery the abuser takes control of the sexual freedom of the victim . It can occur within the family or outside of it.

  • More information: "Child abuse: physical and psychological consequences in abused children"

9. Sexual aggression against men

Although many people do not believe it, statistics show that 1 in 33 men have been victims or have suffered an attempted sexual assault . In addition, this is a reality of which relatively little is known; It is necessary to investigate more about the contexts in which these attacks occur, especially beyond the prison.

10. Sexual aggression against women

It is the most frequent form of sexual abuse . It occurs both in the West and in less developed countries. There are many women who have been victims or have suffered an attempted sexual assault.

Other types of sexual violence

There are other types of sexual assault. They are the following:

11. Sexual aggression facilitated by drugs

When the use of drugs has been used to induce sexual assault, this type of drug is mentioned. Alcohol remains one of the most commonly used substances. Although nowadays, other drugs such as the GHB or the Burundanga are used to annul the will of the victims.

12. Sexual exploitation

A form of sexual violence is sexual exploitation . It happens when a person is forced, threatened and coerced into having sex without their consent. The operator also makes an economic profit at his expense.

13. Incest

Incest is the sexual relationship that happens between family members who share the same blood or that proceed by their birth from a common trunk. For many experts it is also a form of sexual abuse, as there may be family pressures for the victim to have sex and marry another family member.

Bibliographic references:

  • Maston, C., & Klaus, P. (2005) Criminal Victimization in the United States, 2003 statistical tables: National Crime Victimization Survey (NCJ 207811).
  • Tjaden, P., and Thoeness, N. (2000). Prevalence, incidence and consequences of violence against women: findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey (NCJ183781).

6 Types of Childhood Abuse (August 2022).


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