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Aston University promotes and supports equality, diversity and inclusion for all. We have zero tolerance for any forms of hatred and systemic injustice and are committed to justice for all those impacted by racism and discrimination.
Sexual violence is never okay.
Sexual violence is the general term used to describe any kind of unwanted words, contact, behaviour, act or activity of a sexual nature.
Sexual violence includes but is not limited to:
- Rape and sexual assault
- Sexual abuse
- Sexual harassment
Rape and sexual assault
Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact, behaviour, act or activity that is inflicted on another person without their consent.
Rape is a specific form of sexual assault that involves penetrative sex without consent.
Sexual abuse is when someone is forced, coerced, pressurised or tricked into any type of sexual contact, behaviour or activity with another person. It usually takes place within a relationship of power. Often a person may be unable to give consent e.g. because they are:
- a child
- a vulnerable adult
- on drugs, inebriated, sleeping or unconscious
Sexual abuse can involve rape, sexual assault and sexual harassment.
Sexual harassment is any unwanted and unwelcome words or behaviour of a sexual nature that makes someone feel distressed, intimidated or humiliated.
Sexual harassment includes but is not limited to:
- derogatory comments or gestures about a person’s body or clothing
- sexual jokes and comments
- catcalling, following, wolf-whistling, leering, staring or suggestive looks
- making unnecessary and unwanted physical contact
- offers of rewards in return for sexual favours
- intrusive questioning about a person’s private sexual activity
- engaging in unwelcome sexual propositions, invitations and flirtation – including unwanted touching, hugging or kissing
- making someone feel uncomfortable through displaying or sharing sexual material
Online and image-based sexual violence
Sexual violence can take place in person or digitally.
Online sexual violence is unwanted sexual conduct on any digital platform – e.g. in the form of emails, visual images, social media, telephone and text messages.
Online and image-based sexual violence includes but is not limited to:
- taking pictures without consent, e.g. ‘upskirting’, ‘creep shots’
- sharing consensual pictures or videos without consent – ‘revenge porn’
- acts of sexual violence being recorded and potentially shared
- harassing or pressuring someone online to share sexual images of themselves or engage in sexual behaviour online
- threatening to publish sexual content
- online threats of a sexual nature, e.g. ‘rape threats’
- offensive or discriminatory sexual language or name-calling online
- sending someone sexual content without their consent
If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual violence it may be hard to know what to do or how to feel.
The following pages offer information and guidance on some of the options available to you if you have experienced sexual violence or think you know someone that has.