Sexual coercion lies on the ‘continuum’ of sexually aggressive behavior. It can vary from being egged on and persuaded, to being forced to have contact. It can be verbal and emotional, in the form of statements that make you feel pressure, guilt, or shame. You can also be made to feel forced through more subtle actions.
Not all sexual assault involves a physical attack. Sexual coercion is unwanted sexual activity that happens after someone is pressured, tricked, or forced in a nonphysical way.
Sexual coercion is not your fault. If you are feeling pressured to do something you don't want to do, speak up or leave the situation. It is better to risk a relationship ending or hurting someone's feelings than to do something you aren't ready or willing to do.
Some sexual coercion is against the law or violates school or workplace policies. If you are younger than 18, tell a trusted adult about what happened. If you are an adult, consider talking to someone about getting help and reporting the person to the local authorities. You could talk to a counselor, the human resources department, or the local police.
Sexual coercion can be social or emotional pressure to force you into sexual activity that you do not want or agree to. See the chart below for ways someone might use sexual coercion:
Ways someone might use sexual coercion
What he or she may say
Wearing you down by asking for sex again and again, or making you feel bad, guilty, or obligated
·"If you really loved me, you'd do it."
·"Come on, it's my birthday."
"You don't know what you do to me."
Making you feel like it's too late to say no
"But you've already gotten me all worked up."
"You can't just make a guy stop."
Telling you that not having sex will hurt your relationship
·"Everything's perfect. Why do you have to ruin it?"
·"I'll break up with you if you don't have sex with me."
Lying or threatening to spread rumors about you
·"Everyone thinks we already have, so you might as well."
·"I'll just tell everyone you did it anyway."
·"I'll make it worth your while."
·"You know I have a lot of connections."
Threatening your children or other family members
· "I'll do this to your daughter if you don't do it with me."
Threatening your job, home, or school career
· "I really respect your work here. I'd hate for something to change that."
· "I haven't decided yet who's getting bonuses this year."
·"Don't worry about the rent. There are other things you can do."
· "You work so hard; it'd be a shame for you not to get an A."
Some possible responses include:
"I do like you, but I'm not ready for sex."
"If you really care for me, you'll respect that I don't want to have sex."
"I don't owe you an explanation or anything at all."
Be clear and direct with the person coercing you. Tell him or her how you feel and what you do not want to do. If the other person is not listening to you, leave the situation. If you or your family is in physical danger, try to get away from the person as quickly as possible.
If you need help
Visit ONE PLACE Family Justice Center at 530 S. Lawrence Street, Montgomery, Alabama or call 334.262.7378 or if you are in immediate danger Call 911.