Coercion is Not Consent

There are some situations where one may say yes to sex, but not actually give consent. This is usually referred to as a situation called sexual coercion. While it can be tricky to navigate the different between coercion and consent, one thing remains the same: the victim of sexual coercion never wanted to say yes. If you are the victim of sexual coercion then you may have a strong case for harassment.

What is Sexual Coercion?

Sexual coercion is defined as an unwanted sexual encounter that a person is tricked, forced, pressured, or threatened into. It usually occurs when one person has some type of authority over the other. Common instigators include bosses, landlords, and teachers. There are several ways that they force you to say yes even though you don’t want to engage in sexual activity.

Some Examples of Sexual Coercion

At its most basic, a person may ask another to have sex with them so many times that they eventually give in, but it can get trickier than that. Someone in a position of authority such as a boss may threaten that you will not receive a promotion if you don’t sleep with them or promise you a raise if you do. In these cases, you are the victim of sexual coercion whether or not they keep their part of the deal, because they pressured you into having sex with them. In this case, you did not willingly engage in a sexual relationship.

Other examples of sexual coercion include being told that someone will spread lies about you if you don’t agree to have sex with you or will fire you. Loan officers, property managers, bosses, professors, and similar people of authority can all abuse their power and use strong-handed sexual coercion tactics to get what they want. In these situations, you are not agreeing to a sexual relationship on your own terms, which means you are not actually giving consent.

What Do I Do If I am a Victim of Sexual Coercion?

Sexual coercion usually falls under the umbrella of sexual harassment unless there is violence involved. If there is violence involved you should go to the police, but in all other cases you should be aware that sexual coercion is against the law. If it occurs in the workplace, an educational setting, or in exchange for a professional service such as rental agreement or loan agreement, then you should talk to the human resources department or police about the matter.

You also can consider filing a sexual harassment complaint with the (EEOC) Equal Employment Opportunity Commission for workplace complaints or for educational sexual harassment complaints with the US. Department of Education. In some cases you may be entitled to a settlement which a trained sexual harassment lawyer can help you determine. Our hard working sexual harassment lawyers have listened to and gently helped many victims of sexual coercion over the years and will be glad to guide you through the uncomfortable but necessary process if you give us a call.

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