Sexual Violence Defined

Any act sexual in nature, whether verbal or physical, that breaks a person’s trust, violates their safety, or impedes upon their sexual autonomy. Sexual violence includes and is not limited to sexual harassment, sexual assault and rape. It also does not specify a gender or age and can be understood to encompass domestic violence or any violence based on one’s sexual identity.

Sexual Harassment

Any unwanted attention or advances regarding sexual gratification, favors or other verbal or physical conduct of a sexual nature

Sexual Assault

A spectrum of sexual violence including any sexual contact or activity without consent


Any penetration (vaginal, anal, oral) with anything (penis, fingers, objects) done without consent


Any form of significant pressure employed to overcome one’s ability to freely and willingly consent, such as by use of threats, blackmail, imprisonment, etc.


A clearly and freely given word or overt action confirming a willing desire towards and limited to a specific sexual request or experience; consent cannot be obtained from minors or individuals whom are mentally impaired, including impairment by intoxication through drugs or alcohol (voluntarily or involuntarily); it is also an affirmative response, not a lack of one.

PAVE’s definitions above are adapted from legal definitions, and refined based off the concept of sexual autonomy and strives to be inclusive to all individuals’ experiences of sexual harm.

Follow this link to an informative link about Acquaintance Rape, courtesy of Valley Charter School.