Learn about Sexual Violence Terms

Any sexual act that is performed against the victim’s will constitutes sexual violence.

If you are made to engage in a sexual act against your will, this is sexual violence. Rape or other forms of sexual assault might be included. Threats, coercion, or actual physical violence are all examples of force that can be used. Sexual assault is a violent crime. It is an infringement on one’s bodily and psychological integrity.

Sexual Violence Terms & Definitions


Rape is defined as “unlawful sexual activity with a woman who does not consent at the time of the activity,” where the man “knows that she does not consent to the activity… or he is reckless as to whether she does or does not consent.” Vaginal sexual contact is what is meant when sexual activity is done for rape. Rape is only, by definition, when a man engages in sexual activity with a woman against her will.

Under Section 4: Rape

Assault on a person’s sexuality is defined as “penetration (however slight) of the anus or mouth by the penis, or penetration (however slight) of the vagina by any objects held or manipulated by another person.”

Aggravated Sexual Assault

This sexual assault is made worse by serious violence, the threat of serious violence, or is of such a nature as to seriously injure, humiliate, or degrade the victim.

Sexual Abuse | Assault

Compared to aggravated sexual assault, this is a less violent form of sexual assault. This offense consists of two elements: an aura of indecency and an intentional assault.

What the Research Tells Us

Sexual violence is underreported in Ireland, according to strong evidence. According to the 2002 SAVI (Sexual Abuse and Violence in Ireland) Report:

47% of those who reported abuse to SAVI had never disclosed it to anyone.
McGee and others, 2002

On another page of this website, you will find some options for people who have been the victim of sexual assault or violence.