#UsToo : 10 forms of sexual violence in intimate partner relationships

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#UsToo : 10 forms of sexual violence in intimate partner relationships

Reading time : 5 min

Sexual violence is very frequently part of the picture of intimate partner violence (IPV) and of post-separation violence. Despite this, it is not a topic that is talked about much, or in as much detail, compared to forms of violence committed in other types of relationships. Because of this, it is often very difficult for victims-survivors of IPV to identify and address the sexual violence that they suffered within an intimate partner relationship.

Behaviours that are often criminal

Many forms of sexual violence committed within intimate partner relationships are criminal. From the moment that an act is performed without free and informed consent on the part of the victim, it constitutes a criminal offence for which a complaint can be filed with law enforcement.

Caution, sensitive content

The following content describes forms of sexual violence in detail. It may be difficult to read for those who have experienced sexual violence, in an intimate relationship or in another context.


Implied consent and the imposition of privileges

Giving oneself sexual rights in the name of the intimate relationship or of one’s gender; Considering the involvement in the relationship as a guarantee of consent; Imposing a rhythm to sexual relations, a minimum number of times per week for example; Demanding reciprocity through sexuality, asking for sexual contact in exchange for their participation in family tasks or for their involvement in the relationship; Acting in such a way as to create discomfort in the victim if they do not give their consent to sexual activity; etc.


Psychological and emotional sexual violence

Denigrating the victim's physical appearance, verbally or otherwise; Ridiculing the victim sexually; Using sexuality to control or degrade the victim; Making sexual comments to humiliate the victim in front of others; Comparing the victim's sexual "prowess" to that of previous partners or to that of porn; Threatening to cheat on the victim; Manipulating the victim to have sex; etc.


Sexual harassment

Whisling or using sexualized nicknames despite the victim's discomfort; Displaying pornographic, degrading or sexist material in the environment; Insisting on answers to indiscreet subjects that the victim does not wish to discuss, such as her past sex life; Making impromptu physical gestures, such as touching or tapping an intimate part of a victim’s body when it is not desired; etc.


Sexual gaslighting

Making the victim believe that they had previously consented to sexual activity when they had not; Using false accusations of infidelity in order to gain the right to control or monitor the victim; etc.


Sexual cyberviolence

Filming or taking photos of a person in a sexual context without consent; Sharing or selling intimate images without the consent of the person in the image; If the person is under 18 years of age, creating or sharing intimate images constitutes production, possession and distribution of child pornography, regardless of consent; Revenge porn ; Sextortion, demanding money in order to NOT share intimate images; Sending intimate images of themselves to the victim without her consent (dick pic), etc.


Sexual exploitation

Pressuring the partner to participate in sexual acts with acquaintances or friends; Using the pretext of a romantic relationship in order to gain power over a person and then to force them to offer escort services, to prostitute themselves or to participate in pornography (pimping); etc.


Imposition of unwanted sexual practices

Controlling how, where, how much and how long sexual activity takes place; Refusing to wear a condom; Forcing or preventing the use of contraceptives; Violating sexual intimacy: allowing oneself to engage in extramarital relationships or imposing a relationship model that involves others such as polyamory or an "open couple"; Imposing one's will on the nature of sexual activities: forcing to watch pornography, to participate in sado-masochistic activities, to perform or receive unwanted sexual acts, etc. Not respecting prior agreements or safe words meant to put a limit on sexual activities; etc.


Sexual abuse by proxy

Threatening to sexually assault another person; Sexually assaulting the victim's child; Threatening or harming someone else or a pet if the victim refuses sexual activity; etc.


Sexual intercourse without consent

Withholding information that could affect consent (e.g., a sexually transmitted disease); Initiating sex when the victim is unable to give consent, while they are sleeping, under the influence of drugs or alcohol, etc. Using certain substances such as GHB without the victim's knowledge to sexually assault them; Removing a condom without the victim's knowledge; Continuing sexual activity after the victim withdraws consent; Verbally threatening to force sex; Physically forcing sex; etc.


Reproductive coercion

Pressuring the victim to have a baby; Sabotaging the victim's desired contraception, e.g., by piercing a condom or hiding her birth control pills; Forcing the victim to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term, through manipulation or threats; Preventing the victim from accessing health services related to contraception or pregnancy; Forcing the victim to have an abortion; Physically injuring the victim in order to cause her to miscarry; etc.

It took me several years to realize the extent of the sexual abuse my ex put me through. He was so good at making me feel like I was the problem, that I was "old-fashioned", that I didn't have enough desire, that I wasn't open-minded enough, that I wasn't cool enough, that I wasn't feminine enough, that I was too much of a prude, too self-centered… and in the background, the constant threat of him going to satisfy "his needs" somewhere else if I didn't comply with his every wish. Today, I realize that this sexual hold was the driving force behind his hold on the other areas of my life. It is also one of the deepest wounds that I still carry today, in my body, in my intimacy and in my soul.

-Survivor, 43 years old

Bien que la violence conjugale touche majoritairement des femmes, elle peut aussi toucher les hommes et les personnes issues de la diversité sexuelle et de genre. Les services de SOS violence conjugale sont offerts à toutes les personnes touchées par la problématique.

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When you browse the Internet on a computer, tablet or cell phone, your activities are automatically recorded by the browser you are using (explorer, safari, firefox, chrome, etc.). Unfortunately, this means that your partner could track all the sites you have visited, by consulting your browsing history . It is possible to erase the traces of your passage on our website. We advise you to consult this page to learn how to do so. 

In certain situations, it may be preferable to consult our website on a device to which your partner does not have access: at a friend's, at the office, in a public library, etc. Your safety is important.