Sexual Abuse

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by Tina de Benedictis, Ph.D., Jaelline Jaffe, Ph.D., and Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. 
www.helpguide.org.

What is sexual abuse or sexual exploitation of a spouse or intimate partner?

Sexual abuse includes:

  • sexual assault: forcing someone to participate in unwanted, unsafe, or degrading sexual activity
  • sexual harassment: ridiculing another person to try to limit their sexuality or reproductive choices
  • sexual exploitation (such as forcing someone to look at pornography, or forcing someone to participate in pornographic film-making)

Sexual abuse often is linked to physical abuse; they may occur together, or the sexual abuse may occur after a bout of physical abuse.

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