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The University of Southampton
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Definition of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is defined by any unwanted sexual act or activity. There are many different kinds of sexual violence, including: rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, child sexual abuse, rape within relationships, forced marriage, so-called honour-based violence, female genital mutilation, trafficking, and sexual exploitation, amongst others.

Sexual harassment can come in many forms including stalking, unwanted comments or touching, degrading remarks or jokes, and sexually inappropriate communication by any method including in person, on the phone, via messaging apps and social media. It also includes displaying sexual inappropriate material (such as posting images, videos, comments or links that could be regarded as offensive).

Sexual violence can be perpetrated by someone who is a complete stranger to you, or by someone you know and trust, such as a friend, family member, partner or ex-partner.

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