Sexualised violence

The perpetrators

The extent of sexualised violence shows that these are not individual cases, and the perpetrators are usually not mentally ill or “perverted people with a sex drive disorder”. A mental disorder which is associated with the crime is diagnosed in only a handful of sex offenders. On the contrary, the perpetrators are usually perfectly normal men.

The perpetrators are rarely strangers. Especially with regard to sexual abuse and rape, they usually belong to the social environment of the girls and women. They are, for example, friends, acquaintances, partners and husbands, fathers, brothers and colleagues. Most sexual assaults take place where girls and women should actually feel safe – e.g. in the workplace or at home – i.e. their habitual environment.

The motive

All this explains that the motive for sexualised violence is not sexuality but power. Sexuality is functionalised so as to humiliate women and girls, degrade and oppress them for the purpose of experiencing power. All forms of sexual assaults are not violent forms of sexuality, but violence for which sexuality is used. This is why the term sexualised violence is used.

Sexualised violence as an expression of power

Sexualised violence is an expression of a structural-social hierarchy of power, where men secure their position of power over women by using sexuality as a means of discrimination, humiliation and exercise of power in a systematic way.