top of page

What is Sexual Assault


Sexual assault is an assault of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent.

Anyone can be a victim of sexual assault regardless of age, race, class sexual orientation or gender.


The term sexual assault is used as a generic term that is defined as any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will, or any sexual touching of a person who has not consented. This includes rape (such as forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration), inappropriate touching, forced kissing, child sexual abuse, or the torture of the victim in a sexual manner. Sexual abuse is any situation in which force or threat is used to obtain participation in unwanted sexual activity.


Rape is not the only type of sexual assault.  

Sexual assault can include many types of physical acts such as:

-unwanted grabbing or touching of someone's private parts

-forcing, coercing or pressuring someone into performing sex or sexual acts like oral and anal sex.

-forcing someone to watch a sexual act

-committing statutory rape

-committing a sexual act on a drug impaired (such as drugs or alcohol) person


Coercing a person to engage in sex, against their will, even if that person is a spouse or intimate partner with whom consensual sex has occurred, is an act of aggression and violence.  


Within the United States, about 300,000 women are raped each year and 3.7 million women are subjected to other forms of unwanted sexual activity.


About 80,000 American children are sexually abused each year. It has been estimated that one in six American women has been or will be sexually assaulted during her life.


Largely because of child and prison rape, approximately ten percent of reported rape victims are male.


Marital rape, also known as spousal rape, is non-consensual sex in which the perpetrator is the victim's spouse. As such, it is a form of partner rape, of domestic violence, and of sexual abuse.  


Categories of sexual abuse include:  

1. Use of physical force to compel a person to engage in a sexual act against his or her will, whether or not the act is completed;

2. Attempted or completed sex act involving a person who is unable to understand the nature or condition of the act, unable to          decline participation, or unable to communicate unwillingness to engage in the sexual act, e.g., because of underage immaturity,    illness, disability, or the influence of alcohol or other drugs, or because of intimidation or pressure.


The term rape is "an assault by a person involving sexual intercourse with another person without that person's consent" and is a form of sexual assault.  

-Attempted rape is a failed attempt to force sexual intercourse with someone without their consent  

-Child Sexual Abuse Sexual assaults on children are normally viewed far more seriously than those on an adult. This is because of     the innocence of the child victim, and also because of the long-term psychological impact that such assaults have on the child.       Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation.


Child Sexual Assault includes:

-asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities

-indecent exposure of the genitals to a child 

-displaying pornography to a child 

-actual sexual contact against a child 

-physical contact with the child's genitals 

-viewing of the child's genitalia without physical contact

-using a child to produce child pornography   


Statutory Rape in New York State:

-a person age 21 or older has sexual intercourse with a person age 16 or younger (even if they said yes)

-a person age 18 or older has sexual intercourse with a person 14 years or younger.

The adult is ALWAYS at fault when statutory rape occurs.


Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases.  


Incest between a child or adolescent and a related adult has been identified as the most widespread form of child sexual abuse with a huge capacity for damage to a child.


Often, sexual assault on a child is not reported by the child for several reasons:

-children are too young to recognize their victimization or put it into words they were threatened or bribed by the abuser  

-they feel confused by fearing the abuser but liking the attention  

-they are afraid no one will believe them  

-they blame themselves or believe the abuse is a punishment  

-they feel guilty for consequences to the perpetrator  


Elderly sexual assault is victimization of persons over the age of 60, most of who suffer from decreased functionality, frailty, and weakness and therefore are reliant on caretakers.

-Only 30% of people age 65 or older who are victimized report it to the police.

-The most common assailants are caretakers, adult children, spouses and fellow facility residents.

-Signs that an elder is being assaulted include increased vaginal tearing, bleeding, bruising, infection, pelvic injury, soft tissue or bone injury. Also, an altered mood might be an indication of sexual assault. These symptoms include extreme agitation, Post- Traumatic Stress Disorder, withdrawal, panic attacks, STDs, exacerbation of existing illness, sleep disturbances, longer recovery times.  


Remember Sexual Assault is never the victims fault!

bottom of page