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