About Sexual Assault

Sexual violence includes forms of violence where there is sexual activity without consent
What is Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence includes forms of violence where there is sexual activity without consent. This may include rape, sexual assault or sexual abuse including vaginal or anal penetration, oral sex and genital touching. Some victims are sexually assaulted by a stranger. Most have a relationship with their attacker. It may be an intimate partner, ex, friend or family member.

The data we have shows that most sexual violence is experienced by women and girls, and that women and girls of color experience sexual violence at higher rates than white women and girls. But people of all gender identities and sexual orientations can be victims. In fact, trans and gender non-conforming people face high rates of sexual violence. Men and boys also experience sexual assault, but often don’t come forward because of societal norms about “being a man.”

Consent means that someone wants to engage in sexual activity and clearly communicates that to their partner
What is Consent?
Consent Can't be Given When

The person is: underaged, incapacitated, sleeping, physically helpless, has certain disabilities.

A person cannot legally consent to sexual activity with a person who has authority or power over them. For example, an inmate cannot legally consent to a prison guard.

Consent Must be Given Freely

Consent can be taken back at any time. A person does not have to consent because they are in a relationship. They do not have to consent today even if they consented yesterday. They can consent to one thing, but not another. Consent is about what someone chooses to do with their body. They can change their mind at any time. No one has the right to force, guilt or manipulate someone into doing something that they don’t want to do.

Sexual Assault Laws and Definitions

Different states have different laws and definitions of crimes about consent and sexual assault. In New York State, laws and definitions of consent depend on what crime is being charged.

If You have Been Sexually Assaulted
Get Help
After a sexual assault your body and mind will still be processing the trauma and there is no wrong way to respond. It may feel overwhelming trying to figure out what to do next. Learning about your options can help you decide what’s best for you.