Sexual violence is  a general term that covers any sexual behaviour without consent. Sexual violence can hurt people physically, emotionally, socially and spiritually.

There are lots of words which can describe sexual violence including: Rape, Sexual Abuse, Incest, Molestation, Sexual Assault, Sexual Harassment, Sexual Coercion, Sexual Bullying.

Without your consent, any of these sexual acts are illegal:

  • Vaginal sex (penis into vagina)
  • Anal sex (penis into anus)
  • Oral sex (mouth on penis, anus or vagina)
  • Digital sex (fingers into vagina, anus or penis)
  • Object sex (object into vagina, penis or anus)
  • Touching (groping or feeling)
  • Kissing (mouth or tongue)
  • Masturbation (making someone do it or doing it to someone else)
  • Porn (being made to watch it or be in it)
  • And anything else that is sexual, and without consent, is not okay.

Did you know? The maximum sentence for someone found guilty of rape or sexual connection where there is no consent  is 20 years. (Crimes Act 1961, Section 28a)


Sexual violence happens in every community in New Zealand. Take a look at some New Zealand facts and statistics:

  • Approximately one in four females and one in 10 males are likely to experience sexual violence before their 16th birthday.*
  • 1 in 2 adults with diverse sexualities have experience sexual assault in their lifetime.
  • About 63% of people who experience sexual violence know the person who did it to them.*
  • About 35% of females and 12% of males have experienced sexual assault in their lives.
  • Do females ever do this? YES, but about 99% of sexual violence is done by males.*


Myth: Only females are victims of sexual violence.

Fact: Sexual violence happens to males too.

Myth: Sexual violence determines or influences sexual orientation.

Fact: Sexual orientation is unique to a person. Sexual violence does not ‘turn’ a person gay, lesbian or otherwise.

Myth: Males are always horny and cannot control their sexual urges, thus commit sexual violence.

Fact: We know that the majority of men do not commit sexual violence. Men and young men are fully able to control their sexual urges. Sexual violence is an act of power and control.

There are many myths in society that a survivor is somehow partly or even fully to blame for being sexually assaulted or abused.
Survivors are never to be blamed for their experiences of sexual violence. It doesn’t matter how the person was dressed, whether they had been drinking or taking drugs or whether they have had sex before.

The person with sexually harmful behaviour is the one who is responsible for the sexual violence and whose behaviour is illegal.
A person who experiences sexual violence might have a physical response like an orgasm or erection.

This does not mean they consented or ‘liked it’.

Sex without consent is sexual violence.

Fleming, T., Archer, D., King-Finau, T., Dewhirst, M., & Clark T. (2021). Youth19 Safety and Violence Brief. Youth19 and The Adolescent Health Research Group, Auckland and Wellington.

Ministry of Justice. 2022. New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey. Cycle 4 survey findings. Descriptive statistics. June 2022. Results drawn from Cycle 4 (2020/21) of the New Zealand Crime and Victims Survey. Wellington: Ministry of Justice.

Toah-nnest: Te Ohaakii a Hine- National Network of Ending Sexual Violence. (September 14 2022). What is sexual violence?