Sexual assault and abuse is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, or under threat or coercion. Whether by an acquaintance or a stranger, sexual assault can occur forcibly and/or against a person’s will, or when a person is incapable of giving consent, including:
- Inappropriate touching, forcible fondling (unwanted touching or kissing for purposes of sexual gratification)
- Vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
- Sexual intercourse that you say no to
- Attempted rape
- Child molestation
A person is legally incapable of giving consent if under 18 years of age, intoxicated by drugs and/or alcohol, developmentally disabled, or mentally or physically unable to do so.
Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations: in the home by someone you know, on a date, or by a stranger in an isolated place.
Rape is a common form of sexual assault. It is committed in many situations — on a date, by a friend or an acquaintance, or when you think you are alone. Educate yourself on date rape drugs. They can be slipped into a drink when a victim is not looking. Never leave your drink unattended — no matter where you are. Attackers use date rape drugs to make a person unable to resist assault. These drugs can also cause memory loss so the victim doesn’t know what happened.
Rape and sexual assault are never the victim’s fault — no matter where or how it happens.