What is Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault is non-consensual sexual contact or penetration by physical force, by threat of bodily harm or when the victim is incapable of giving consent by virtue of mental illness, mental disability, intoxication or being under the age of consent (16-years- old in New Hampshire). While sexual assault can take many different forms, the loss of power and control that a victim experiences is a common thread.
Myths about sexual assault reflect social, cultural, racial, and/or gender-based stereotypes. These myths affect victim/survivors of sexual violence and perpetuate the silencing of this crime.
Sexual Assault is a crime of power and control.
A person is more likely to be harmed by someone in his or her circle of friends and family. Perpetrators of sexual violence are almost always someone the victim knows. In New Hampshire 87% of females and 77% of males, knew their perpetrator (2006 Sexual Assault in New Hampshire Report). A majority of assaults can be categorized as acquaintance or intimate partner assault. These types of assault are ones in which the victim and perpetrator are known to each other. Intimate partner sexual assault exists whenever sexual violence is present between married partners, unmarried partners, people in dating relationships, people of all genders and sexual orientations, and teens (Winters, 2008). Acquaintance assault exists when sexual violence is present between those that know each other but are not involved in the previously mentioned relationship. These two types of assaults account for the majority of all sexual assaults
- There is no single “right” response for survivors of sexual violence
- Sexual assault can be a life-threatening situation and whatever you did to survive was the right thing to do.
- Sexual assault can happen to anyone
- Sexual violence is NEVER the victim’s fault
- No one deserves to be assaulted