Sexual abuse or assault is any type of sexual activity or contact, including rape, that happens without your consent. Sexual assault can include non-contact activities, such as someone “flashing” you (exposing themselves to you) or forcing you to look at sexual images.
Sexual assault is also called sexual violence or abuse. Legal definitions of sexual assault and other crimes of sexual violence can vary slightly from state to state. If you’ve been assaulted, it is never your fault.
Sexual assault can include:
- Any type of sexual contact with someone who cannot consent, such as someone who is underage (as defined by state laws), has an intellectual disability, or is passed out (such as from drugs or alcohol) or unable to respond (such as from sleeping)
- Any type of sexual contact with someone who does not consent
- Attempted rape
- Sexual coercion
- Sexual contact with a child
- Fondling or unwanted touching above or under clothes
Sexual assault can also be verbal, visual, or non-contact. It is anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual activities or attention. Other examples can include:
- Voyeurism, or peeping (when someone watches private sexual acts without consent)
- Exhibitionism (when someone exposes himself or herself in public)
- Sexual harassment or threats
- Forcing someone to pose for sexual pictures
- Sending someone unwanted texts or “sexts” (texting sexual photos or messages)