Sexual assault is a general term that includes any type of forced or unwanted sexual activity, including rape, incest, sexual abuse, and molestation. Sexual assault includes any forced or unwanted touching of an intimate part of the body, such as breasts, buttocks, or genitals. Harassment like “sexts”, exposing/flashing, exposure to pornography, and forcing a person to pose for sexual pictures are all forms of sexual assault.
Rape, a specific type of sexual assault, involves any forced, manipulated, or coerced penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth, by a penis or other object. Sexual assault/rape is not a crime of passion. It is a crime of violence, using sex as a weapon to overpower and to degrade the victim. The FBI has labeled rape as the second most violent crime, second only to murder. A rapist can be a stranger but is most often someone the victim knows, including a spouse, date, or family member.
Many people do not only experience sexual violence, they also experience layers of oppression including racial, religious, and socioeconomic oppression. This can make it harder for victims of sexual violence to come forward and find the help and support that is responsive to their individual needs.