Some people think that an experience with a partner can’t be sexual assault, or that it isn’t sexual assault if it wasn’t physically violent. But actually, sexual assault spans a wide range of non-consensual sexual contact. Sexual assault can happen to women, men, transgender people, and children of any age. A person cannot freely consent to sexual activity if they are drunk, under the influence of drugs, or unconscious or asleep.
A sexual assault is any type of sexual activity that you do not agree to, including:
Any unwanted kissing, touching or fondling
Repeatedly using sexual insults toward someone
Refusing to use condoms or restricting someone’s access to birth control
Undesired rough or violent sexual activity, even with a partner who otherwise has your consent
Deliberately causing pain during sex
Deliberately passing on a sexually transmitted disease or infection
Someone watching private sexual acts
Someone showing his or her genitals
Verbally threatening sexual assault
Unwanted penetrative sex, including penetration of the mouth
Sexual intercourse that you say no to
Unwanted sexual acts perpetrated by someone in a position of power, such as a teacher, psychiatrist, aide or prison guard
Child molestation, which includes any of the above as well as:
Intentionally engaging in sexual activity in front of a child
Showing children pornography, or using children to create pornography
Using a child to engage in prostitution
Keep in Mind
Everyone has the right to decide what they do or don’t want to do sexually. Not all sexual assaults are violent.
Most victims of sexual assault know the assailant.
People of all ages and genders can be victims of sexual abuse.
People of most ages and all genders can be perpetrators of sexual abuse.
Sexual abuse can occur in same-sex and opposite-sex relationships.
Sexual abuse can occur between two people who have been sexual with each other before, including people who are married or dating.
Sexual abuse can happen in families, in institutions, at home or on the street.