Sexualised Violence

Sexualised violence means that sexuality is forcibly used as an instrument of power. Perpetrators degrade their victims, they humiliate and demean them in order to feel powerful themselves. 

Sexualised violence occurs across all social strata. The estimated number of unreported cases is very high. Sexualised violence comprises sexual harassment, sexual coercion, rape, and sexualised violence against children. Violent sexual practices based on mutual consent are not regarded as sexualised violence.

Sexual Harassment

Sexual harassment is widespread in our society. It takes place in public space, at the workplace, in schools and training institutions, at home, on the internet, or on the phone. It restricts the personal freedom of individuals. They avoid certain places, routes, or situations in order to avoid being insulted, harassed, or threatened. 

Sexualised violence is facilitated by the degradation of women and girls in media and advertising, but also by the use of misogynist language.

Sexual Coercion

One speaks of sexual coercion when a person is forced against their will to engage in sexual acts or certain sexual practices, or to watch or participate in the production of pornographic material.


Rape is the most extreme form of sexualised violence and represents a particularly grave violation of the physical integrity of the person concerned. It involves a person’s body being penetrated against their will.

Perpetrators of sexual acts of violence can mostly be found in the social environment: friends, acquaintances, partners and relatives, colleagues, trainers and supervisors. Sexual assault does mostly not occur in public parks at night, but rather in apartments, in social institutions, or in other familiar areas. Sexual assault can also occur in therapeutic or counselling contexts.  

Sexual Violence Against Children

Sexual violence against children means sexual acts that children and adolescents are made to observe or participate in against their will. The victims are in a less powerful position than the perpetrators and therefore remain dependent on them.

Human Trafficking, Ritualised Violence, and Sexualised Violence During Wartime

One speaks of human trafficking when persons become victims of sexualised violence through being abducted, raped, or forced into prostitution. It also affects children who are sexually abused or offered and sold for the purpose of producing child pornography.

Ritualised violence in sects and cults comprises physical, sexual and psychological forms of violence that are exercised in a planned and targeted manner in ceremonial contexts.

In military conflicts, the systematic rape of women and girls by soldiers and armies serves as a military strategy to demonstrate power.

Further information

Website of KOK e.V. – German NGO Network Against Trafficking in Human Beings,