Most rainbow sexual encounters and relationships are based on desire and mutual respect. People are able to give consent to be sexual freely. They understand what they are agreeing to, they want to engage in the sexual activity, and they are able to change their mind and stop any activity at any time.
But sometimes a sexual encounter will not feel alright, either at the time or afterwards.
Sexual violence can be perpetrated by, or against, anyone regardless of their age, gender, sexuality, ethnicity or ability. It can include rape, the threat of rape, attempted rape, sexual harassment, sexual coercion and sexual contact with force. It includes any sexual activity that someone does not, or cannot, consent to.
Being coerced into sexual activity is not true consent. If someone pressures you or makes you feel like you have no choice, that’s sexual coercion. If someone uses threats, intimidation, physical force or coercion to make you be sexual, that’s sexual violence.
Sexual violence happens to rainbow people, and it can be entwined with the homophobia, biphobia, gender policing and transphobia that we experience in the rest of the world.
We may experience sexual violence from partners or casual hook-ups. We also experience sexual violence from people targeting us because of our sexuality or gender identity.
Sexual activity without consent in New Zealand is illegal, no matter what your sexuality, gender or the sexuality or gender of the person who sexually harmed you.
If you have had an unwanted sexual experience, you can ask for help, no matter how long ago it happened. If you are acting in a sexually inappropriate way towards someone who was not totally free to consent (or is not old enough to consent), you can seek help to change your harmful sexual behavior.
You can read more about rates of sexual violence for rainbow people and how sexual violence may happen towards different members of the rainbow community in our factsheets.