Commentary: Sex-Based Offenses

Editor’s Note: The renewed #MeToo movement has been making public the bad behaviors — primarily of men toward vulnerable women and children — that have long been condoned, excused, hidden and otherwise allowed to happen. 

While we cannot pretend that these behaviors will cease simply because we are naming them publicly, we do know that the power of collective voices makes an impact. As we work to hold people accountable, let’s not forget to include sex buyers (aka “johns”) — who will be in full force in the Twin Cities during Super Bowl week. Perhaps if we start to publicly shame sex buyers as well as we have harassers, the numbers that prey on vulnerable women and children might start to drop.

These terms and definitions of abusive behavior were compiled by Andrea Morisette Grazzini.

Sexual Harassment: When a person makes unwanted comments, jokes, gestures, or actions related to sex, directed at a specific person or group.

Gender Discrimination: When a person uses their power to discriminate or threaten someone based on their gender.

Sexual Coercion: When a person in position of power has sexual activity that is not consensual.

Domestic Assault: Any assault on a person with whom one lives or is in a family or romantic relationship with.

Sexual Assault: Any unwanted sexual contact.

Aggravated Sexual Assault: Any sexual contact that is forced, done while the victim is unable to consent (i.e. unconscious), or coerced with weapon.

Rape: Any penetration by an offender into a victim’s body.

Sex Trafficking: When a person forces a victim through emotional, physical or economic coercion to perform sex acts for others.

Statutory Rape: Any sexual activity by an adult with a minor.

Pedophilia: Any adult act of sexual activity with a minor, with or without consent, including attempts and fantasy.