What is Sexual Assault and Rape?

facts about sexual assault

  • Rape is a crime. If convicted, the assailant could serve up to 20 years in prison.
  • Men and women can be victims of sexual assault.
  • High school and college women are more likely to be raped by someone they know than by a stranger.
  • Persons between the ages of 15 and 25 are the most vulnerable to acquaintance rape.
  • The use of alcohol or drugs, by both the victim and the offender, are often factors in sexual assault cases.
  • It's OK to say no without giving an explanation.

what is sexual assault?

There are two major categories of sexual assault against adults: rape and indecent assault and battery.

Rape: Unwanted, non-consensual and/or forced sexual penetration of any body orifice by another body part and/or object. Consent cannot legally be given if a person is under the age of legal consent (varies by state: 16 in MA and 18 in CA), mentally disabled, or incapacitated (intoxicated, drugged, unconscious, or asleep).

Indecent Assault and Battery: Non-consensual, sexually offensive touching that does not include penetration.

what is acquaintance rape?

Acquaintance rape is a rape committed by someone known to the victim. This might be a friend, classmate, co-worker, instructor, relative, or casual acquaintance such a store clerk. Any person, whether an acquaintance or not, who compels a person to submit to sexual intercourse without consent, by force or by threat of bodily injury, commits the crime of rape. Studies indicate that women are more likely to be sexually assaulted by a person known to them rather than by a stranger. In addition, most college women who have been raped knew their assailant, and the assailant was the woman's date in more than one-half of the rapes.

Survivors of acquaintance rape are often involved in situations where they trust their acquaintance not to be an assailant. Some assailants foster a false sense of friendliness in order to sustain a level of trust in their intended victim. They use this technique to gain their victim's initial cooperation in going to an apartment or vehicle where they can more easily exert force or threat of force on the victim.