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3 million women across the UK experience rape, domestic violence, forced marriage, stalking, sexual exploitation, trafficking and other forms of violence every year.

End Violence Against Women

At least one out of every three women around the world has been beaten, coerced into sex, or otherwise abused in her lifetime — with the abuser usually someone known to her

United Nations, 2006

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is any sexual act where a person is forced to do something they don’t want to. They may be forced with threats of physical violence or just enough fear to make them comply with their abuser’s wishes. Sexual abuse of adults covers a range of inappropriate sexual behaviours that cause distress or harm to an individual. Sexual abuse can be actual or threatened and causes physical and emotional damage.

Sexual abuse can happen within a marriage. Marital rape is often unreported and unrecognised within a marriage even by those experiencing the abuse. Culturally, there is an assumption by many women that they have a ‘duty’ to satisfy their husband’s or partner’s sexual desires and demands even if they do not want to. But, rape is a crime, even if you know the person.

Sexual abuse within marriage may also cause the person experiencing the abuse to feel that it is their fault, or the attacker may act as if the abuse took place with the consent of the person being attacked, leading to confusion and guilt.

Sexual abuse includes:

·        Rape

·        Forcing someone into sexual activities against their will (for example when they say no, are ill or tired)

·        Using objects violently during sex

·        Forcing someone to have sex with another person when they do not wish to

·        Sharing sexual stories or images about you without your consent

·        Calling you sexual or derogatory names

·        Withholding sex or affection

·        Forcing someone to perform sexual acts in front of others when they do not want to

·        Forcing someone to mimic pornography

·        Forcing someone to be photographed or filmed during sex / whilst sexual abuse is taking place

·        Forcing someone to watch or look at pornography.

If you are experiencing sexual abuse, or domestic abuse of any kind, contact the Wales Domestic Abuse Helpline on 0808 80 10 800.

The Rape Crisis Centre can help you to find your nearest centre.