Sexual violence


Sadia Mazhar,

“(Forms, Risks, Preventive measures, Recommendations and Conclusion)”

Sexual violence occurs throughout the world. Although in most countries there has been little research conducted on the problem, available data suggest that in some countries nearly one in four women may experience sexual violence by an intimate partner , and up to one-third of adolescent girls report their first sexual experience as being forced . Sexual violence can also profoundly affect the social well-being of victims; individuals may be stigmatized and ostracized by their families and others as a consequence.
Sexual violence is defined as: any sexual act, attempt to obtain a sexual act, unwanted sexual comments or advances, or acts to traffic, or otherwise directed, against a person’s
Sexuality using coercion, by any person regardless of their relationship to the victim, in any setting, including but not limited to home and work.
Forms and contexts of sexual violence
A wide range of sexually violent acts can take place in different circumstances and settings. These include, for example:
Rape within marriage or dating relationships; rape by strangers;
Systematic rape during armed conflict;
Unwanted sexual advances or sexual harassment, including demanding sex in return for favors;
sexual abuse of mentally or physically disabled people;
sexual abuse of children;
forced marriage or cohabitation, including the marriage of children;
denial of the right to use contraception or to adopt other measures to protect against sexually transmitted diseases;
Forced abortion.
violent acts against the sexual integrity of women, including female genital mutilation and obligatory inspections for virginity;
Forced prostitution and trafficking of people for the purpose of sexual exploitation.
What are the risk factors for sexual violence?
Explaining sexual violence against women is complicated by the multiple forms it takes and contexts in which it occurs. There is considerable overlap between forms of sexual violence and intimate partner violence. There are factors increasing the risk of someone
Being coerced into sex, factors increasing the risk of an individual man forcing sex on another person, and factors within the social environment

Including peers and family
Influencing the likelihood of rape and the reaction to it. Research suggests that the various factors have an additive effect, so that the more factors present, the greater the likelihood of sexual violence. In addition, a particular factor may vary in importance according to the life stage. Factors increasing women’s vulnerability One of the most common forms of sexual violence around the world is that which is perpetrated by an intimate partner, leading to the conclusion that one of the most important risk factors for women – in terms of their vulnerability to sexual assault is being married or cohabiting with a partner. Other factors influencing the risk of sexual violence include:
being young;
consuming alcohol or drugs;
having previously been raped or sexually abused.
having many sexual partners;
involvement in sex work;
becoming more educated and economically empowered, at least where sexual violence perpetrated by an intimate partner is con-corned;

What can be done to prevent sexual violence?
The number of initiatives addressing sexual violence is limited and few have been evaluated. Most interventions have been developed and implemented in industrialized countries. How relevant they may be in other settings is not well known. The interventions that have been developed can be categorized as follows.

Individual approaches
Psychological care and support.
Life-skills and other educational programs.
Health care responses.
Medico-legal services.
Training for health care professionals
Centers providing comprehensive care to victims of sexual assault
Community-based efforts
Prevention campaigns.
School-based programs.
Community activism by men
Legal and policy responses
Reporting and handling cases of sexual violence.
International treaties
Actions to prevent other forms of sexual violence
Sexual trafficking.
Female genital mutilation.
Child marriage.
Rape during armed conflict


Sexual violence has generally been a neglected area of research in most parts of the world, yet the evidence suggests that it is a public health problem of substantial proportions. Much more needs to be done both to understand the phenomenon and to prevent it.

More research.
Determining effective responses
Greater attention to primary prevention.
Addressing sexual abuse within the health sector.

Sexual violence is a common and serious public health problem affecting millions of people each year throughout the world. It is driven by many factors operating in a range of social, cultural and economic contexts. At the heart of sexual violence directed against women is gender inequality. In many countries, data on most aspects of sexual violence are lacking, and there is a great need everywhere for research on all aspects of sexual violence. Of equal importance are interventions. These are of various types, but the essential ones concern the primary prevention of sexual violence, targeting both women and men, interventions supporting the victims of sexual assault, measures to make it more likely that perpetrators of rape will be caught and punished, and strategies for changing social norms and raising the status of women. It is vital to develop interventions for resource. Poor settings and rigorously to evaluate programs in both industrialized and developing countries. Health professionals have a large role to play in supporting the victims of sexual assault, medically and psychologically and collecting evidence to assist prosecutions. The health sector is considerably more effective in countries where there are protocols and guidelines for managing cases and collecting evidence, where staff are well-trained and where there is good collaboration with the judicial system. Ultimately, the strong commitment and involvement of governments and civil society, along with a coordinated response across a range of sectors, are required to end sexual violence.


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