What is Sexual Assault?

SEXUAL ASSAULT DEFINED:

Sexual assault can take many different forms, but one thing remains the same: it is never the victim’s fault. 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 SEXUAL HARASSMENT?
Sexual harassment may constitute unwanted sexual advances, crude or obscene remarks, and all other unwanted physical and verbal conduct of a sexual nature.

CONSENT DEFINED:
Consent is a verbal, sober permission given, which is also both conscious and willingly agreed upon. Consent is continuous and active. It can be retracted at any time.

RAPE DEFINED:

Rape is not about sex.
It’s about power and control.

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.”

Indiana code 35-42-4-1 provides a legal definition of rape as a person who knowingly or intentionally has sexual intercourse with another person or knowingly or intentionally causes another person to perform or submit to other sexual conduct when:

  • The other person is compelled by force or imminent threat of force
  • The other person is unaware that the sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct is occurring; or
  • The other person is so mentally disabled or deficient that consent to sexual intercourse or other sexual conduct cannot be given

No matter who the victim or perpetrator is, or when and where the rape takes place, rape should always be taken seriously – this begins with believing the victim.

Spousal Rape

Any unwanted sexual acts by a spouse or ex-spouse, committed without the other person’s consent. Such illegal sexual activity are done using force, threat of force, intimidation, or when a person is unable to consent.

 

Acquaintance / Date Rape

Perpetrators of acquaintance rape might be a date, but they could also be a classmate, a neighbor, a friend’s significant other, or any number of different roles. It is important to remember that dating, instances of past intimacy, or other acts like kissing do not give someone consent for increased or continued sexual contact.

Stranger Rape

In other instances the victim may not know the perpetrator at all. This type of sexual violence is sometimes referred to as stranger rape. Stranger rape can occur in several different ways: Blitz Sexual Assault: when a perpetrator quickly and brutally assaults the victim with no prior contact, usually at night in a public place. Contact Sexual Assault: when a perpetrator contacts the victim and tries to gain their trust by flirting, luring the victim to their car, or otherwise trying to coerce the victim into a situation where the sexual assault will occur. Home Invasion Sexual Assault: when a stranger breaks into the victim’s home to commit the assault.

Information provided by: ICESA (Indiana Coalition to End Sexual Assault) and RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network)

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