Sexual Assault (e.g., rape, acquaintance rape, sexual abuse, unwanted sexual contact) can be defined in many different ways, depending on the jurisdiction in which it occurs. However, generally speaking, sexual assault occurs when a sexual act is forced upon a person who did not or cannot give consent. Sexual assault often conjures intense feelings of guilt and shame among survivors. Making matters worse, survivors often know their attacker, which adds to the psychological devastation of sexual assault. In some, but not all, instances, attackers might be acquaintances, friends, or even significant others. While there might be a relationship between sexual assault survivors and attackers, particularly in the case of acquaintance rape, partner violence (e.g., battering, domestic violence), by definition, involves a relationship.
Aside from the definitions of sexual assault and partner violence, how do they differ from one another? How are they the same? In this Discussion, you will compare social, cultural, and psychological dynamics of partner violence and sexual assault. Then, you will analyze potential treatment barriers survivors of sexual assault and partner violence might encounter.
To prepare for this Discussion:
- Pay particular attention to the social, cultural, personal, and psychological dynamics of sexual assault and partner violence. Think about the ways in which the social, cultural, and psychological dynamics of sexual assault and partner violence are similar and different.
- Consider the potential barriers related to sexual assault and partner violence intervention.
- Keeping the dynamics of sexual assault and partner violence in mind, identify one potential barrier that survivors might encounter when seeking and engaging in treatment