We try to control every aspect of our lives but unfortunately, there are times when things slip out of our hands. There are times when no matter how much we try to gain control over the situation, we cannot predict what is coming through.
We cannot always predict others’ intentions about us. Do they see us with lust? Are they a toxic company?
Here, I focus on everything about what is sexual coercion, what is sexually coercive behavior, sexual coercion in marriage and relationships, sexual coercion examples, and what you can do while dealing with sexual coercion.
What is sexual coercion?
To better understand this, let’s understand the meaning of coercion. Coercion means an attempt of manipulation and control through threats. Coming to what sexual coercion actually means being sexually involved with someone either with consent or forcefully.
It might sound confusing, how is it sexual coercion if it is through consent. The consent could have in a given situation come out of being forced or fearful.
Is sexual coercion rape?
Sexual coercion is not always rape. There’s always a thin line. It is one tactic of the abusers where the other party has not given consent. However, it is a tricky street. Even when you have said Yes, even when you didn’t want to, this could, unfortunately, lead to sexual coercion as well.
Let’s understand in-depth what is forceful consent. A forceful consent is usually out of duty or being threatened or manipulated to believe the way.
Let’s take a brief example of forceful consent.
Check out these scenarios or sexual coercion examples where you may have encountered the forceful treatment.
– When you feel sex is your duty
Violence in marriage is one of the biggest examples of forceful consent. Your spouse has the legal right to be sexually active with you. And you decide to be involved or are asked to be involved given the legal rights is an example of forceful sexual coercion.
– When you said Yes out of fear
One of the sexual coercion examples is the fearful consent that can usually be out of being scared of being harmed or falling for unwanted situations. It can be the fear of life or dangerous repercussions you might not want to face.
– When you said Yes out of guilt
An abuser will always make you believe that not giving into their trap is your fault. Looking at an example of fearful consent is being in a relationship and having to be sexually active or being forced to have sex so that you do not lose your partner. A situation like, “If you love me, you will have sex with me,” is one such example.
What is emotional rape?
Emotional vulnerability can also be seen as an emotional rape. How so, you ask me?
Rape means to destroy a person without their consent. Emotional rape or abuse is basically playing with their feeling and manipulating them into believing that what you are saying or doing is right or good for them. The person is forced to believe that the other person can think better for them than they can for themselves.
What’s the difference between coercion and consent?
Now that we have a basic understanding of what is sexual coercion, let’s understand the difference between coercion and consent.
Consent vs. coercion is used interchangeably quite often but there is a difference between coercion and consent.
Sexually coercive behavior is basically threatening someone or fearfully making them do something. On the other hand, consent is doing something out of a free and happy will. There is no kind of pressure or sexual manipulation involved.
Check out this video on coercion, consent, and violence:
Commonly used sexual coercion tactics
Let’s understand the common tactics that are used for sexual coercion.
– Emotional manipulation
This is one of the most common ways of coercion. The partner usually makes you emotionally unstable or dependent on them and dictates the terms of being in the relationship. Emotional instability makes you do what the other person wants without realizing that it is harming you in the process.
Fear is usually induced by someone in the case of relationships. It could be anything like not being enough, physical appearance, sexual fantasy, and many other such things. This can lead to us giving into anything and thus ending up being a victim of sexual coercion.
Being threatened emotionally or physically is also sexual coercion. When someone puts you in a spot or tries to scare you of something or someone to be able to use you for their sexual favors leads to coercion.
These are some of the common tactics of sexual coercion.
Who commits sexual coercion?
When we come to think about it, we also somewhere need to understand the behavior behind something like this.
A person usually behaves like this either because of previous trauma, the need to be in control, or mental instability. Are their actions justified? No, not really. They definitely need to seek help and find better ways to deal with it.
Common scenarios that lead to sexual coercion
We’ve understood the tactics and the sexually coercive behavior. Now let’s understand in-depth the common scenarios in which sexual coercion takes place and how you can respond to sexual coercion.
Let’s start with understanding the common scenarios.
- Workplaces are one of the common scenarios of sexual coercion. To elaborate, it usually happens in the name of promotions or strengthening your relations with your colleagues. Either the need or desire for a raise or better relations workplace is one of the most known scenarios of sexual coercion.
- Guilt trips are also a common scenario of coercion. When the other person makes you believe that you are the reason for a certain thing and makes you feel worthless. The guilt makes you give in and do as the other person wishes to save the relationship and the bond.
- Emotional blackmailing is also commonly used. Using a person’s emotions to your advantage and blackmailing them into doing what you want them to. Playing with their emotions and mental stability is a very common scenario of sexual coercion.
These are a few scenarios of sexual coercion that are very common, and we should learn to respond and deal with it.
How to respond at the moment to sexual coercion?
To start with, let’s first understand how we can respond to sexual coercion.
We need to understand that sexual coercion is not a physical rape, but it is mental and or emotional rape. It affects deeply creates self-doubt and insecurity in the person who is facing it or has faced it.
Learning to respond to such things is very important, as it will help you protect yourself from a lot of trouble, trauma, and wrong decisions. Here are some ways you can respond to sexual coercion.
– Express your discomfort
Even when someone hasn’t known much about what is sexual coercion, everyone understands it at the first sign of it. So, do not doubt yourself and wait in your head to be sure. If your gut feeling says that something is building up in the wrong direction by the other party, let them know you are uncomfortable and be vocal about it in the first instance.
– Assess the situation and handle it with care
Analyze the situation about the person and attempt to take control. Is the person dangerous? Do they have any harmful objects? Weigh everything before taking any action.
– Ensure you are in a safe environment
It is advised to avoid any secluded area. And even if you are not, walk towards a crowded or safe environment. If you are facing workplace sexual harassment, ensure you are surrounded by your colleagues most of the time.
– Leave the situation if you think it is going out of hand
If you are with someone attempting to harass you, one of the strongest steps is to walk out. Leave the room or table.
– Lastly, dial emergency numbers if you find yourself in danger or require immediate help
Know that help is always available. If you are in immediate danger, call 911. If you are in a safe place, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or chat online with a trained hotline worker on the National Sexual Assault Online Hotline at any time to get help.
What to do after being sexually coerced?
Now that we have encompassed most of the things relating to sexual coercion, we shall now discuss what we can do after we have been sexually coerced.
– Seek help
Sexual coercion effects are deep on your mental health. Seeking expert help is of utmost importance. Trying to build yourself up again emotionally and mentally will really help reduce the trauma.
– Learn the extent of vulnerability
Allow yourself to feel the loss but also don’t make yourself too vulnerable to let anyone walk over you again.
– Accept yourself
Take a day at a time. Don’t shut people out of your life. Accept what has happened in the past and learn from your mistakes.
– Give yourself time to heal
Emotions are tough to deal with when it comes to coercion or sexual assault. The scars it can leave are difficult to heal. Give yourself some time and let yourself heal completely.
We have completely compassed everything from what is sexual coercion to everything that is related to it. We hope that it helped you better understand your situation and how to deal with the situation or yourself after being in that position. It is difficult, definitely. Just hang in there, hold yourself tight, and it will all get better. Love yourself more than anyone.