What are we referring to?


What are we referring to when we say “sexual violence”, “spiritual abuse” or “emotional abuse”?

Sexual violence can cover a wide range of acts, defined by the law, to which full consent by one of the parties has not been given.

Spiritual abuse occurs when the freedom to believe and act independently is denied. A relationship of trust is exploited to satisfy the desires of one of the parties.

Emotional abuse is a destructive psychological behaviour pattern shown by a person in a position of power, authority or trust. It involves an ongoing attack on a person’s self-esteem, which can take the form of neglect, constant criticism and comparison, as well as deprivation of affection. Abusers do not respect the psychological, emotional, spiritual or physical integrity of others.

What can increase the risk of abuse and transgression of boundaries?

An asymmetrical relationship between people, particularly in terms of dependency and power.

Unclear structures in which rights and duties are not defined.

Priority given to protecting the reputation of an institution or an individual.

The law of silence imposed by the aggressor and/or the institution.

What does it mean to act “with consent”?

It means being aware of the needs and wishes of others and responding to them with care. It requires verbal and non-verbal consent (in certain situations also in writing).

Saying nothing, or not saying no, does not mean that consent has been given. The question is not to know if a person is saying no, but rather if that person has said yes.

Consent given once can change and must therefore be asked for again and again. A person who has once said yes can change their opinion. A person can withdraw their consent at any moment. Every form of activity must stop in such cases.