Sexual assault can take many different forms, but one thing remains the same: it’s never the victim’s fault.
What is sexual assault?
The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim. Some forms of sexual assault include:
- Attempted rape
- Fondling or unwanted sexual touching
- Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
- Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape
What is rape?
Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. The term rape is often used as a legal definition to specifically include sexual penetration without consent. For its Uniform Crime Reports, the FBI defines rape as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”
What is force?
Force doesn’t always refer to physical pressure. Perpetrators may use emotional coercion, psychological force, or manipulation to coerce a victim into non-consensual sex. Some perpetrators will use threats to force a victim to comply, such as threatening to hurt the victim or their family or other intimidation tactics.
Other types of sexual violence include child sexual abuse, sexual assault of men and boys, intimate partner sexual violence, incest, and drug-facilitated sexual assault.
RAIIN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network) is a resource for more information (rainn.org)
If you need to talk to someone about sexual assault, call our 24-hour hotline at 540-667-6466 to speak to an advocate.