Defense Against Crime


The Different Types of Sexual Assault

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. What do you know about Sexual Assault and its various forms?

Here are some facts on Sexual Assault in the United States.

  • Every 2 minutes, someone in the U.S. is sexually assaulted.
  • 1 in every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime.
  • 1 in 4 women in college reported experiencing an attempted or a completed rape in college.
  • 80% – 90% of sexual assault survivors know their perpetrator.

Sexual assault can come in various forms. In order to better inform you of what it entails, we have included definitions of different types of sexual assault, as well as other kinds of violence that often arise hand-in-hand with sexual assault.

What is Sexual Assault

The exact definition of “rape,” “sexual assault,” “sexual abuse” and similar terms varies by state. The term can get confusing, since each state often uses different words to mean the same thing or use the same words to describe different things. So, for a precise legal definition, you need to check the law in your state. But here are some general guidelines based on the definitions used by the U.S. Justice Department.

Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape (vaginal, anal, or oral penetration) or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. (In some states this term interchangeably with rape.)

Rape is forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration. Penetration may be by a body part or an object.

Some examples of sexual assault are voyeurism (peeping Tom), when a person sees private sexual acts; exhibitionism, when a person exposes him or herself in public or self pleasure his or herself in public (etc).; incest, when there are sexual relations among members of a same family; and sexual harassment. The sick people who commit these crimes DO EXISTS in our Society in all social, race, financial, religious or other human groups. These crimes may occur in various circumstances. You can be attacked by someone you do not know in a lonely place, on a planned date or even in the home of someone that you know. Statistically 60% of the victims know their offender.

If you or someone that you know have suffered any kind of sexual assault, do not hesitate to denounce these criminal acts. Contact your local law enforcement agency (campus police, city police, or sheriff) and report the crime. Sadly almost 60% of these crimes are NEVER reported.

Sexual assault includes:
• Rape—sexual intercourse against a person’s will
• Forcible sodomy—anal or oral sex against a person’s will
• Forcible object penetration—penetrating someone’s vagina or anus, or causing that person to penetrate her or himself, against that person’s will
• Marital rape
• Unwanted sexual touching
• Sexual contact with minors, whether consensual or not (Child sexual abuse)
• Incest (Sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion between family members.)
• Any unwanted or coerced sexual contact (Sexual harassment)

What to Do if Someone You Know is Sexually Assaulted

  • Believe them -A person has very little to gain by making up a story about sexual assault. (though it can be used as a weapon)
  • Listen to them.- A victim of sexual assault needs someone who will listen to what they have to say without blame or judgment.
  • COMFORT THEM: – Tell them you care about them and want to help. Ask how you can help.
  • Do not tell them what to do. – A person who has been sexually assaulted has had every ounce of power and control stripped from them. They only way they are going to gain that power back is by making decisions for themselves.
  • Give them information, provide them options, but don’t tell them what to do. A great place to get information is your local sexual assault center.

Get Help for Sexual Assault:

Take steps right away if you’ve been sexually assaulted:

  • Get away from the attacker to a safe place as fast as you can. Then call 911 or the police.
  • Call a friend or family member you trust. You also can call a crisis center or a hotline to talk with a counselor.
    One hotline is the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). 

    Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. It is important to get counseling from a trusted professional.


  • Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change clothes if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence. Do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.
  • Go to your nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You need to be examined and treated for any injuries you may have. Ask to be screened for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and for emergency contraception to help prevent pregnancy. The doctor will collect evidence using a rape kit to find fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or clothing that the attacker may have left behind.
  • You or the hospital staff can call the police from the emergency room to file a report.
  • Ask the hospital staff about possible support groups you can attend right away.
  • Get Counseling – Organizations like RAINN and PAR exists to help you. Your local police may have the names of local organization.
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