What is sexual assault?

Sexual assault is any unwanted, non-consensual sexual contact against any individual by another using manipulation, pressure, tricks, coercion or physical force.  It is any act a person is forced to perform or receive that includes touching of the genitals or breasts.  This includes rape, sodomy, touching or oral sex where the victim is unwilling or unable to give verbal consent, including being under 17 years old, intoxicated, drugged or unconscious.

If you have experienced sexual assault you may feel frightened, angry, ashamed, hopeless, numb or combination of these emotions.  These are normal responses and you are alone.  It is not your fault.  You can call our 24-hour Rape Crisis Hotline at 866.627.4747 to speak with an advocate.  Supportive counseling can be an effective way to learn about the assault and your options.

Sexual Violence includes:
  • Completed act of penetration, any penetration of the vagina, anus, or other body orifice by any object
  • Attempted act of penetration
  • Abusive sexual contact, intentional touching
  • Non-contact sexual abuse voyeurism, exhibitionism, verbal or behavioral sexual harassment, threats or sexual violence, taking or posting sexual photos
Other terms commonly used:
  • Sexual violence
  • Rape
  • Date Rape
  • Marital Rape
  • Incest
  • Sexual Abuse
  • Molestation
Who are the perpetrators?

The majority of perpetrators are someone known to the victim. Approximately 4 out of 5 of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, such as in the case of intimate partner sexual violence or acquaintance rape.

The term “date rape” is sometimes used to refer to acquaintance rape. Perpetrators of acquaintance rape might be a date, but they could also be a classmate, a neighbor, a friend’s significant other, or any number of different roles. It’s important to remember that dating, instances of past intimacy, or other acts like kissing do not give someone consent for increased or continued sexual contact.

In other instances the victim may not know the perpetrator at all. This type of sexual violence is sometimes referred to as stranger rape. Stranger rape can occur in several different ways:

  • Blitz sexual assault: when a perpetrator quickly and brutally assaults the victim with no prior contact, usually at night in a public place.
  • Home invasion sexual assault: when a stranger breaks into the victim’s home to commit the assault.
  • Contact sexual assault: when a perpetrator contacts the victim and tries to gain their trust by flirting, luring the victim to their car, or otherwise trying to coerce the victim into a situation where the sexual assault will occur.

Survivors of both stranger rape and acquaintance rape often blame themselves for behaving in a way that encouraged the perpetrator. It’s important to remember that the victim is a never to blame for the actions of a perpetrator.

Facts about Sexual Assault:
  • Nearly 13 percent of Texans have been sexually assaulted.  That equates to almost 2 million people, or one in 5 women and one in 20 men
  • In the United States, one in six women and one in 33 men reported experiencing an attempted or completed rape at some time in their lives
  • Females are the most frequent victims of sexual assault, however, men and boys are victims of sexual violence
  • Women in college are particularly vulnerable: 20 percent of women in college reported experiencing an attempted or completed rape
  • Similarly, males are victimized most frequently before age 18
  • 60.4 percent of female and 69.2 percent of male victims were first raped before age 18
  • 25.5 percent of females were first raped before age 12 and 34.9 percent were first raped between the ages of 12-17
  • 41.0 percent of males were first raped before age 12, and 27.9 percent were first raped between the ages of 12-17
  • Most sexual assault are never reported to law enforcement