Sexual Consent

Some people think abuse is only physical. Abuse can also be mental, emotional, or sexual. Sexual abuse happens when someone is forced, pressured, or threatened into having sex when they don't want to.

When people agree to sex, it is called consent. Forcing another person to have sex is called rape. One in five women and one in 71 men have been raped.

A person is abused when he or she is threatened or pressured into having sex. One in eight women report being pressured into having sex. Half of all women, and a quarter of all men, have suffered sexual abuse other than rape.

Sexual abuse can happen when someone is married or dating. It can happen between friends. Sexual abuse can happen between partners of the opposite sex. It can happen between same sex partners. It can happen along with other kinds of abuse. Sexual abuse may lead to health problems such as:

  • Infections.
  • Drug or alcohol abuse.
  • Depression.
  • Unwanted pregnancy.

Both people should agree to have sex. Consent for one kind of sexual activity does not mean consent for all kinds of sexual activity. It is OK to stop sex at any time.

Sexual activity should not happen if a person:

  • Says "no" or "stop".
  • Pushes away, kicks, or shows that sex is not wanted.
  • Is too drunk to agree.
  • Has a disability and cannot agree because of the disability.
  • Cannot agree for some other reason.

If you, or someone you know, is a victim of sexual abuse free and confidential help is available. Call 1-800-656-HOPE or find your local domestic violence program by calling 1-800-799-7233 (TTY 1-800-787-3224).

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