Understanding and preventing sexual coercion and manipulation

Understanding and Preventing Sexual Coercion and Manipulation

Sexual coercion and manipulation is a form of sexual violence that is often overlooked in the conversation about sexual assault. It refers to tactics used by perpetrators to control and manipulate a victim’s behaviour in order to gain access to sexual activity. These tactics can be verbal or physical, and can be used by family members, friends, romantic partners, or strangers.

What is Sexual Coercion?

Sexual coercion is a form of manipulation in which one person attempts to pressurize, guilt, manipulate, or force another person into engaging in a sexual activity they do not want to take part in. Sexual coercion can include everything from persistent advances to physical threats.

Signs of Sexual Coercion

Sexual coercion can be difficult to recognize, particularly when the perpetrator is in a position of power or influence. It is important for victims to be aware of the signs so that they can seek help.

These signs may include:

  • Emotional manipulation and guilt-tripping
  • Economic pressure or blackmail
  • Social pressure and peer pressure
  • Verbal pressure or threats
  • Promises of rewards in exchange for sexual acts
  • Physical force or intimidation

Preventing Sexual Coercion and Manipulation

We can all play an important role in preventing sexual coercion and manipulation in our own lives and those of our family and friends.

  • Speak Out Against Abuse: Sexual coercion and manipulation are never acceptable, and it is important to make it clear to everyone that it is never okay. Speak out against behaviour that puts pressure on someone to engage in unwanted sexual activity.
  • Create a Safe Space: Make it clear to everyone in your social circles that everyone has the right to make their own decisions about sex and that it should never be coerced or manipulated.
  • Empower Survivors: Provide survivors with support, validation and understanding so that their voices can be heard.
  • Know Where to Turn: Gather resources in your community to help those affected by sexual coercion and manipulation.

Every one of us can take a stand against coercion and manipulation, and fight to create a safe and healthy environment in which victims can heal and thrive.

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