Sexual Assault

What Is Sexual Assault?

Sexual violence spans a wide range of unwanted sexual contacts including child sexual abuse, rape, attempted rape, incest, exhibitionism, voyeurism, obscene phone calls, fondling, and sexual harassment.  A range of nonconsensual sexual acts exist on a continuum in which each form of sexual assault is linked to the others by their root causes, as well as by the effects they have on individuals and communities. While sexual assault takes many forms, it’s important to remember that a common thread is the loss of power and control that a victim of sexual assault experiences.

Generally, sexual assault is any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact against any individual by another using manipulation, pressure, tricks, coercion or physical force.  It is any act a person is forced to perform or receive that includes touching of the genitals or breasts. This includes rape, sodomy, touching or oral sex where the victim is unwilling or unable to give verbal consent, including being under 17 years old, intoxicated, drugged or unconscious.

Child sexual abuse occurs when an adult or another child manipulates, threatens or forces a child into sexual activity. Many times the offender doesn’t need to use physical force with the victim. Instead, he or she takes advantage of the child’s trust and the adult’s position of authority.

(Source: Texas Association Against Sexual Assault website)