Sexual violence is a term used to describe any violence, physical or psychological, carried out through sexual means or by targeting sexuality. It includes violence against women, children or men carried out by men, women or children, with the intent to control and humiliate the victim.
Sexual violence is a social phenomenon that exists in every society that accepts aggressive behavior and inequality between the sexes. Sexual violence can potentially affect any woman, man or child from all sectors of Israeli society. Statistics show that approximately one in three Israeli women will be sexually assaulted during her lifetime. In the year 2004 alone, 32,737 calls were received at the national hotline of the Rape Crisis Centers.
Sexual assault is a gender-based crime that for the most part is inflicted by men on women. However, the oppression of women by means of rape and violence is only a small link in a long pattern of general oppression in society based on the legitimacy of violence.
The fact that most of the victims of sexual assault are women reflects the common conceptions on a womanís place in society. These conceptions are manifested in the allocation of social resources, in the way in which women are portrayed in the media and in the way women are used for the sex industry.
Types of sexual assault
Sexual assault - a general term for all sexual offenses, every action or saying that has a sexual connotation and is committed without the free consent of both parties.
Rape - a crime wherein the victim is forced into sexual activity, e.g. insertion of a body part or object into a womanís sexual organ, without her consent.
Attempted rape - an attempt to insert a body part or object into another person's sexual organ, without his/her consent.
Group rape - an act of rape committed by more than one person.
Continuous rape - continuous acts of rape over a period of time.
Incest - sexual abuse or assault by a family member.
Indecent act - any sexual assault that doesnít involve penetration, and that is intended for arousal, satisfaction or sexual humiliation.
Sexual harassment - an act of a sexual nature, to which one of the parties does not agree, such as unwanted sexual courting, requests for sexual favors, and any non-consensual physical or verbal behavior of a sexual nature.