Sexual coercion occurs in many domestic relationships but for the sake of this article, we are addressing sexual coercion with sex work.
Many sex workers operate independently and willingly and often manage their own businesses online. However, some sex workers are managed by others and offer sexual services not by choice but through coercion. They are often coerced into having sexual acts with their controller, the controller's clients and with strangers.
In many cases the victim is not consciously aware that she is being coerced because her mind is being controlled by her controller.
Sexual coercion is a sexual activity which is forced, unwanted and controlled by somebody else. If you don't want to have sex, feel forced into it, pressured, threatened, tricked or coaxed into it, this is coercion.
You may not even realise it is coercion since the person that has power over you may be telling you that they love you and this is what people in love do. It could be that they are saying that you owe them sex for looking after you. It could be that you are given drugs or alcohol continually, so that you are reliant on them to make decisions for you. Or, you could be beaten and threatened and are too scared to not do as someone says.
If you are performing sexual activities that you have not willingly wanted to participate in and someone is there continually forcing you to have sex with them or someone else, this is sexual coercion. Sexual coercion can also be exercised by offering love, or at least the perception of love and care. It could be both the control of the mind and the body.
Sexual coercion is usually committed by someone that you are in some sort of relationship with.
It could be your manager, film producer, partner, landlord, boss, loan officer, therapist, teacher, flatmate, family member, friend and co-workers. You may not realise that you are being coerced or controlled, as you may think that it is part of your relationship and that they are looking after you or you are paying them for a service, like rent. You may think that it is an agreed mutual commitment. You may even feel like you love the person that is committing sexual coercion, since they tell you so.
Sex workers who choose to offer sexual services, managing their business online and consent by themselves, have control. Often, they have terms and agreements set up in advance and have put safety measures in place. There is an emphasis on consent. Consenting to sex work yourself is the difference between sex work and sexual coercion.
Many sex workers are victims of exploitation and are treated as commodities by criminals that give them little pay or no pay, force them to have sex with them and others. They can do this gently too by telling them that they love them or that they owe them for putting a roof over their head, for instance.
Many sex workers that consent to performing in a sex film, quite often are not consenting to what occurs when the camera starts rolling. Sexual coercion has happened, even when a sex worker can believe that they are in control.
Examples of how someone may use sexual coercion into making you provide sexual services:
You can sometimes identify someone that is being sexually coerced, by their demeanour. If someone is performing sexual services and looks scared, disengaged and sad, they are probably not consenting to the sexual services by choice. They may look undernourished, bruised, drunk, drugged, frightened and exhausted. On the contrary, the sexually coerced person may believe that they are being looked after and physical signs may not be so identifiable.
When dealing with sexual coercion, if it is you, it is important to remember that it is not your fault and there are many people that can support you and help you. Remember that if it doesn't feel right, it most likely isn't.
If you recognise anything in this article that may suggest that you are in a sexually coercive relationship, we encourage you to reach out and confide in someone that you trust or call a trusted charity.
There are many charities online that offer sexual coercion support, like WomensAid, Refuge, Victim Support and the National Domestic Abuse helpline and we encourage you to contact them or ask someone to call them on your behalf.
If you are in immediate danger, we urge you to report it to the police. We understand that it might feel very difficult to do that, for fear, practical difficulties or for language barriers but help is here. Our internet law firm assists people from all walks of life that suffer sexual coercion and helping people report it to the police sensitively is something that we do often.
Legally, if you are suffering violence and assault from someone that you live with, in a partnership with or from a stranger, this is a crime, which the police will help you with. If you are worried about your children, they will be protected under criminal law, also. The police will help you with this and find you emergency accommodation, too.
The civil courts exist for protection. You can apply through a civil court for a court order, to make a harasser stop and for an injunction to keep someone committing sexual coercion away from you physically. A good, experienced lawyer will explain it well and work on all legally binding documents for you.
There are many people that want to protect you and help with this very serious issue and our law firm is one of them. We can assist you confidentially. You could send us an email discreetly and we can contact you at a time when it feels safe.