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Sexual Abuse

  • By: D. J. Angelone, Damon Mitchell & Richard Hirschman
  • In: Encyclopedia of Multicultural Psychology
  • Edited by: Yo Jackson
  • Subject:Multi-Cultural Counseling, Ethnic Studies, Cross-Cultural Psychology

Sexual abuse is a broad term that refers to any act of a sexual nature that is committed by one person (perpetrator) against another person (victim), either against their will or by use of force. Sexual abuse also refers to threats of acts of a sexual nature that a perpetrator makes against a victim. Sexual abuse typically is regarded as a means by which a perpetrator can assert power over a victim in order to demean or exploit the victim. Specific acts of sexual abuse may range from making obscene comments or suggestions to initiating unwanted touching to forcing sexual activity. Although these behaviors are thought to range along a continuum of severity, they are all serious because of potential adverse consequences to the victim.

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