Sexual Violence in Philadelphia

What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is a broad term used to define a variety of acts of violence. Sexual violence means that someone forces or manipulates someone else into unwanted sexual activity without their consent. Sexual violence in Philadelphia is a deeply troubling reality that occurs when someone is forced or manipulated into engaging in unwanted sexual activity without their consent.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) defines sexual violence as “unwanted sexual contact that happens without consent, including rape, molestation, abuse, and harassment.” Sexual violence can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, or economic situation.

Sexual violence is not just about sex; it’s all about power and control. Sexual violence in Philadelphia is preventable. Individuals and communities can work together to create environments that support healthy relationships and respect for all people. By understanding what sexual violence is, we can work together to prevent it.

Reasons someone might not consent include fear, age, illness, disability, and/or influence of alcohol or other drugs. Anyone can experience sexual violence in Philadelphia including children, teens, adults, and elders. Those who sexually abuse others could be acquaintances, family members, trusted individuals, or strangers.

Some types of sexual violence include:

  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Acquaintance rape
  • Statutory Rape
  • Child sexual assault
  • Incest
  • Marital assault or abuse
  • Intimate partner rape
  • Unwanted sexual touching or contact of any kind
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Showing one’s genitals or any part of their naked body to other(s) without their consent
  • Masturbating in public
  • Voyeurism (watching someone in a private act without their knowledge or permission)
  • Sexting (sending sexual texts, naked photographs, or genital photographs to someone without their consent)
  • Domestic violence

Sexual Violence in Philadelphia is Preventable

By working with WOAR you can learn to:
  • Be a role model in your personal relationships by fostering supportive and non-violent behaviors.
  • Believe victims when they come to you with their experiences.
  • Don’t remain silent if you witness or hear about potential acts of sexual violence. Speak up! Let your voice be heard!
  • Advocate for better policies at your workplace, organization, or school that aim to prevent sexual violence and help those affected by it.
  • Create a community event to raise awareness about sexual violence or talk with community members about ways they can get involved. To learn more about how WOAR can support your event, please email
  • Invite WOAR to host a seminar or training at your workplace, school, or organization
  • Get involved – become a WOAR volunteer

Help is Available

If you or anyone you know has been a victim of sexual violence in Philadelphia or is a survivor of sexual violence in Philadelphia and would like support, WOAR is here for you. Please call WOAR’s 24/7 hotline at 215-985-3333.