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Different types of “non-traditional” sexual abuse

On Behalf of | Mar 15, 2024 | Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is commonly misconstrued to cover only physical acts, but it can manifest in various forms. Some of these forms are subtle and may not be easily recognizable, the impacts can be damaging, nonetheless.

A comprehensive understanding of sexual abuse requires recognizing the other forms it can take and how they manifest in turn.

Verbal sexual abuse

Perpetrators may engage in verbal sexual abuse by making sexually explicit comments, jokes or threats. This form of abuse can also include sexual harassment, such as unwelcome advances or suggestive remarks that create a hostile or uncomfortable environment. Verbal sexual abuse can have a profound impact on victims’ self-esteem and mental well-being, as it undermines their sense of safety and autonomy.

Visual sexual abuse

Visual sexual abuse is the non-consensual sharing, distribution or creation of sexually explicit images or videos. This can include taking or sharing intimate photos or videos without consent, also known as “revenge porn,” as well as voyeurism or secretly filming someone without their knowledge while they are undressed or engaged in sexual activity. Visual sexual abuse can cause significant emotional distress and trauma for victims, as well as lasting reputational harm if the images or videos are shared online or with others.


Perpetrators of this form of sexual abuse derive gratification from exposing their genitals to unsuspecting individuals, often in public settings. This behavior can range from indecent exposure to more aggressive acts, such as masturbating in front of others without their consent. Exhibitionism can be particularly traumatizing for victims who may feel violated, embarrassed or unsafe as a result of being subjected to unwanted sexual behavior.

If you are a victim of sexual abuse in any form, it is important to find legal counsel as soon as possible to help you understand your rights and explore options for seeking justice and support.