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
  • Forcing someone to look at or pose for pornographic material
  • Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape (includes oral, anal or vaginal penetration)

Sexual assault is a violent crime that involves power, aggression, and control. Rape and sexual assault are never the victim/survivor’s fault. Sexual assault can happen anywhere, anytime of day, to anyone regardless of age, class, ethnicity, socio-economic status, sexuality or gender.

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.

Who Is an Adult Survivor of Child Sexual Abuse?

An individual who was sexually abused as a child is an adult survivor of child sexual abuse. This abuse may have had long-term effects on the survivor’s life. In most instances, the victim of the abuse never discussed the abuse with others while it was occurring. This individual is learning now, as an adult, to deal with the effects of the abuse.

Child sexual abuse occurs when a child is used for the sexual gratification of an older adolescent or adult. It also involves the abuse of power that an adult has over a child. The sexual abuse may be used by the adult as a means of fulfilling his need to be powerful.

What is drug-facilitated sexual assault?

Drug-facilitated sexual assault occurs when alcohol or drugs are used to compromise an individual's ability to consent to sexual activity. These substances make it easier for a perpetrator to commit sexual assault because they inhibit a person’s ability to resist and can prevent them from remembering the assault.

Several medications in particular have received recent media attention regarding sexual assault - GHB: Gamma Hydroxybutrate, Rohypnol: Flunitrazepam (Roofies), and Hydrochloride (Vitamin K).

Drug-facilitated sexual assault occurs in two ways:

  • When the perpetrator takes advantage of a victim’s voluntary use of drugs or alcohol;
  • When the perpetrator intentionally forces a victim to consume drugs without their knowledge.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, you’re not alone. To speak with someone who is trained to help, call Sexual Trauma Services Crisis Hotline at (803) 771-7273.