The term "sexual violence" is an an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse.
Sexual assault occurs when a person is forced, coerced, and/or manipulated into any unwanted sexual activity. Sexual assault is an umbrella term that includes a wide range of victimizations which may or may not involve force or be illegal.
The dynamics of sexual assault are complicated. Typically, sexual assault is not about sex, but about manipulation, exploitation, and exerting power and control over another person. Sexual assault is a tool of sexism, or sexist oppression, and perpetrators use sexual assault as a weapon to humiliate and dominate others.
We know that sexual assault affects people from a wide variety of backgrounds. The stories and statistics show us that sexual assault crosses boundaries of race, class, culture, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and sexuality. Perpetrators use sexual assault as tool of other kinds of oppression. People who identify as members of these communities experience the intersections of other oppression (e.g. racism, homophobia) and sexual violence. There is no one kind of person who experiences sexual assault. It can happen to anyone.