Yes, Sexual Coercion Is A Thing: Sexual Assault
Start writing a post
Swoon

Yes, Sexual Coercion Is A Thing: Sexual Assault

Yes, it's actually a thing.

1685
Yes, Sexual Coercion Is A Thing: Sexual Assault
Wiki

Sexual Assault Awareness month may be over, but it's never too late to talk about sex and healthy relationships, especially when sexual harassment and assault may be involved. But do you know the one type of sexual assault that I never hear people talk about? Sexual coercion.

Many people may not think this exists because the majority of sexual coercion takes place in relationships (and you're supposed to want and say yes to having sexual experiences with your partner, right?), but the prevalence of sexual coercion is staggering. Researchers found that approximately 70% of college students surveyed reported having been sexually coerced and that 33% admitted to having used coercive tactics against their partners. And this is just in college!

So what exactly is sexual coercion? It lies on the continuum of sexually aggressive behavior, but it is different than others on the continuum because of its subtleties. Experts are still having a hard time trying to find the best definition because it includes so many behaviors and situations, and it encompasses a perceived unwillingness to participate in the sexual acts by the victim. The current definition of sexual coercion is "the act of using subtle pressure, drugs, alcohol, or force to have sexual contact with someone against their will."


Personally, I've had a hard time with this definition. To me, to say a sexual act is "against their will," means a form of rape. I've endlessly researched that exact question, and everything I've found has said that where sexual coercion is present there is a "lack of consent," but it never comes out and says rape. And this confuses me because isn't the definition of rape forcing someone to do something sexual without their consent? Are people just too afraid to say the word "rape"? When looking up sexual coercion on Wikipedia, it's disclaimer was "This article is about sexual coercion among non-human animals. For sexual coercion among humans, see Rape." This was the closest I could get to an answer.

I also thought that maybe I was focusing too much on how to completely define the experience of sexual coercion instead of wondering what all it entails and figuring out what constitutes as sexual coercion. How do you know that you are being or have been sexually coerced?

Everywhere I found showed a list of possible scenarios, like:

- Making you feel like you owe them—for example, because you are in a relationship, because you've had sex before or because they spent money on you.

- Badgering you, yelling at you or holding you down.

- Giving you compliments that sound extreme, as if they are trying to get something out of you.

- Giving you drugs or alcohol to loosen your inhibitions.

- Reacting negatively (with anger, sadness or resentment) when you say no to something.

- Continuing to pressure you after you say no.

- Making you feel threatened or afraid of what might happen if you say no.


In addition to these points, I think there are plenty of non-verbal, non-physical behaviors that can constitute as sexual coercion, like knowing what your partner is like when they don't get their way on basic things or if they've gotten mad or controlling over some of your behaviors before. These things can influence your decision to just give in when they want sex or other sexual favors because you know what could happen if you don't. Sexual coercion can be a part of a controlling and manipulative relationship, but it isn't always treated as such. Sexual coercion itself is an act of dominance and power.

Not all of sexually coerced (or sexual assaulted) peoples' experiences are violent, but it can be just as traumatic. Many survivors don't know they've been sexually coerced until long after the assault happened, especially when it isn't violent, and coming to terms with the fact that it's happened to you can be an agonizing experience.

Many people still blame the victims of sexual coercion. They say, "Well, you did say yes or give your consent right? And it wasn't violent so it must be your fault. That isn't assault." But what they are failing to realize is that this "consent" is pressured out of them and the person did not inherently want the sexual act to happen. "Convincing" someone to have sex with you is not treated as sexual misconduct, but it is one of the most prevalent forms of sexual misconduct. Just because you say yes, doesn't mean you actually mean yes. No one should be persuading someone to participate in sexual activities that they initially refused.

You always have the right to say no. If it happens to you, you have the right to be upset and angry about it. If it happens to you, you have the right to deal with it in whatever way suits you best. There is no such thing as the "perfect victim," and there is no such thing as the "perfect sexual assault." Sexual assault is sexual assault and survivors are survivors no matter what or how violent their assault was or how they choose to react and deal with it.

Let's educate people about sexual assault. Let's educate people about sexual coercion. Let's educate people because 1 in 4 college women and 1 in 16 college men will survive sexual assault or an attempted sexual assault. Let's get people talking about it. Let's get our schools talking about it. Let's get our parents talking about it. Let's get our children talking about it.

Maybe that way we'll be able to fix it.

Report this Content
Alexis Hoffman

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that cutting out social interaction has taken its toll.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked Instagram How 2020 Was, And Maybe It Wasn't The Worst Year Ever

2020 is a year to remember but it's not as bad as we made it out to be.

13840

It's finally 2021 and we're honestly all just happy that 2020 is over. I decided to ask my Instagram followers how they felt about 2020 and the results were a little more mixed up than expected.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ever since I watched "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," I've been a major Matthew McConaughey fan. I've seen most of his movies, and I definitely got way too excited when he finally made an Instagram! So when he announced he would be releasing a memoir titled "Greenlights," I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on this book. And so did the rest of the world, as the book began to flood social media.

Truthfully, I would much rather read a fiction book and dive into another world than read a nonfiction book - even if it is one of my favorite celebrities. But I had a feeling this book wouldn't disappoint or bore.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

The Armie Hammer Scandal Discourse Is Kink Shaming And Harming Actual Victims

The rumors surrounding Armie Hammer has resulted in some very toxic and harmful discourse.

1502

Sex is something that occupies a very significant place in our lives. Even asexual people can have an active sex life. With the various types of people that comprise this world, it obviously results in various sexual interests. And unconventional people can engage in some pretty unconventional sex practices. Even the most conventional people on the surface might surprise us with their sexual fantasies.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

The Top 10 'Sex and the City' Episodes You Need To Revisit Before The New Series

In anticipation for the upcoming series, "And Just Like That," here are the ten "Sex and the City" episodes you need to revisit.

908
HBO

"Sex and the City" has become quite the franchise since its premiere in the late nineties. The series lasted six seasons and even produced two films. Fans of the show were anxiously awaiting a revival, even if their hopes seemed futile. Kim Cattrall, who plays Samantha Jones, recently spoke out saying she would not return to the show. Cattrall explained that she was never friends with her co-stars and even had a difficult relationship with Sarah Jessica Parker.

In the wake of Cattrall's revelation, rumors swirled the series would come back without her. On January 10, a new teaser was posted on social media for the new series, "And Just Like That." Now that a revival is officially confirmed, here are the ten "Sex and the City" episodes you need to revisit.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

My New Tattoo Reminds Me To Love Everyone With Intention—And Yes, That Includes Myself

I've realized that love has almost nothing to do with agreeing and almost everything to do with grace.

7651
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

I'm a big believer that everyone has a story.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lum3n

Women are known to lug around heavy purses with unnecessary items inside. How many of these useful items do you keep in your own bag? We need to be prepared with a list of things to have with us whenever we leave the house again.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments