Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a form of sexual violence and is an attempt, coupled with the ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another because of that person's gender or sex.

Consent is clear, knowing and voluntary. Consent is active, not passive. Silence, in and of itself, cannot be interpreted as consent. Consent can be given by words or actions, as long as those words or actions create mutually understandable clear permission regarding willingness to engage in (and the conditions of) sexual activity.

  • Consent to any one form of sexual activity does not automatically imply consent to any other forms of sexual activity.
  • Previous relationships or prior consent does not imply consent to future secual acts.
  • Mutually understandable consent must be obtained and maintained by both parties throughout the sexual interaction.
  • Consent to sexual activity may be revoked at any time, at which point sexual activity must cease immediately.
  • Individuals are unable to give consent if they: are incapacitated by drugs or alcohol; suffer from a physical or mental disability that makes them incapable of giving consent; or are a minor (under 18 years of age).
  • Examples of sexual assault include unwanted touching, kissing, fondling, or penetration of the mouth, vagina, or anus with a finger, penis, or object.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    I didn’t resist physically — does that mean it isn’t sexual assault?

    People respond to an assault in different ways. Just because you didn’t resist physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t sexaual assault. Many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent.

    I was drunk or they were drunk — does that mean it isn’t assault?

    Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse – or an alibi. Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is non-consensual, it is sexual assault.

    I used to date the person who assaulted me — does that mean it isn’t sexual assault?

    Sexual assault can occur when the offender and the victim have a pre-existing relationship. If it is non-consensual this time, it is sexual assault.

    I thought “no,” but didn’t say it. Is it still sexual assault?

    It depends on the circumstances. If you didn’t say "no" because you were legitimately scared for your life or safety, then it may be sexual assault.

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