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Sexual abuse continuum

Sexual abuse covers a wide range of behaviors.  Regardless of where the abuse falls on the spectrum, no one type is “less” abusive than any other; all abuse has traumatic consequences to the victim.

Sexual abuse may be a one-time isolated event, or it may occur regularly over a period of time.  Sexual abuse does not have to involve physical contact between the victim and the abuser.

Covert sexual abuseSexualized relationshipSexualized interest in victim’s bodySexualized jokes, comments, harassment”Romantic” relationshipDiscussion of sexual activity
Overt sexual abusePre-touching phaseVoyeurismExhibitionismInflicting pornography on victimSexualized kissing and fondlingVictim is passive recipientVictim activity is forcedOral-genital contactDigital penetration of vagina or anusVaginal rape with penisAnal rape with penisVaginal/anal rape with objectsExploitationSadistic activityRitualistic abuse

Adapted from material developed by H. Ramsey-Klawsnik.

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