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
- Attempted rape
- 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.