What Is Sexual Assault?
SASHAA defines sexual assault as a completed non-consensual sexual act, an attempted non-consensual sexual act, and abusive sexual contact.
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities including forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
It is estimated that, worldwide, one in five women will become a victim of rape or attempted rape in her lifetime. (United Nations) Women aged 15-44 are more at risk from rape and domestic violence than from cancer, car accidents, war, and malaria. (World Bank) Violence against women and girls is not confined to any particular political or economic system, but it is prevalent in every society in the world. It cuts across boundaries of wealth, race, and culture. (UN Secretary General’s Campaign to End Violence Against Women)
Awareness and Prevention Tips*
- Talk to your friends honestly and openly about sexual assault.
- Don’t just be a bystander — if you see something, intervene in any way you can.
- Trust your gut. If something looks like it might be a bad situation, it probably is.
- Be direct. Ask someone who looks like they may need help if they’re okay.
- Get someone to help you if you see something — enlist a friend, RA, bartender, or host to help step in.
- Keep an eye on someone who has had too much to drink.
- If you see someone who is too intoxicated to consent, enlist their friends to help them leave safely.
- Recognize the potential danger of someone who talks about planning to target another person at a party.
- Be aware if someone is deliberately trying to intoxicate, isolate, or corner someone else.
- Get in the way by creating a distraction, drawing attention to the situation, or separating them.
- Understand that if someone does not or cannot consent to sex, it’s rape.
- Never blame the victim.
*This information was provided by President Obama’s initiative to stop sexual assault: It’s on us — all of us —to stop sexual assault.