Working in the area of sexual violence has taught me that for many folks, understanding our experience and having a name for it can help us heal from it. Knowing the definitions of sexual assault and consent and being able to claim the word "survivor" can be extremely powerful.
I'm incredibly grateful to be part of a collective called ConsentEd, and through our advocacy work we've created a website with (among a ton of other resources and info!) basic definitions to help both the general public and survivors themselves understand this issue better. Since I do a lot of work with sexual violence, and so many of us have experienced it, I decided this was a good place to start. So, from the ConsentEd website, I'll offer a definition of sexual violence:
"Sexual violence is a broad term which includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, street harassment, relationship violence, child sexual abuse and stalking. While each of these types of violence may look different, they all involve an attack on a person’s sense of self, their sexuality, their body and/or their feeling of safety. It can happen to anyone of any gender and of any sexual orientation.
It is important to remember that all forms of sexual violence are interconnected and equally important. All types of sexual violence can have a profound impact on an individual, and they all contribute to a rape-prone world."
For more definitions, please check out the pages on sexual violence and on consent.
Nicole Perry is a Registered Psychologist and writer with a private practice in Edmonton. Her approach is collaborative and feminist at its heart. She specializes in healing trauma, building shame resilience, and setting boundaries.
About the Blog
This space will provide information, stories, and answers to big questions about some of my favorite topics - boundaries, burnout, trauma, self compassion, and shame resilience - all from a feminist counselling perspective. It's also a space I'm exploring and refining new ideas.