By: Megan Eckles (Therapist/Training Specialist)
What is considered sexual assault?
According to the US Department of Justice, sexual assault is defined as means any nonconsensual sexual act proscribed by Federal, tribal, or State law, including when the victim lacks capacity to consent.
The National Sexual Violence Resource Center mentions that the are several forms of sexual violence, which include:
- Child sexual assault and incest
- Sexual assault by a person’s spouse or partner
- Unwanted sexual contact/touching
- Sexual harassment
- Sexual exploitation and trafficking
- Exposing one’s genitals or naked body to other(s) without consent
- Masturbating in public
- Watching someone engage in private acts without their knowledge or permission
- Nonconsensual image sharing
Who is impacted by sexual assault?
Victims of sexual violence include people of all ages, races, genders, and religions — with and without disabilities.
- Nearly one in five women in the United States have experienced rape or attempted rape some time in their lives.
- In the United States, 1 in 71 men have experienced rape or attempted rape.
- An estimated 32.3% of multiracial women, 27.5% of American Indian/Alaska Native women, 21.2% of non-Hispanic black women, 20.5% of non-Hispanic white women, and 13.6% of Hispanic women were raped during their lifetime (National Sexual Violence Resource Center, 2022).
- Victims often know the person who sexually assaulted them.
- People who sexually abuse usually target someone they know.
- Nearly 3 out of 4 adolescents who have been sexually assaulted were victimized by someone they knew
- 1 out of 5 were committed by a family member (RAINN, 2022).
How to seek help:
National Sexual Assault Hotline:
What can be done?
- Raising awareness
- Supporting survivors
- Getting involved to help change laws and policies regarding crimes of sexual violence and how survivors are treated