So here’s the deal, sexual assault is any sexual activity you don’t want, by anyone. It doesn’t matter if it’s someone you know or not. It can be something as simple as someone touching you where you don’t want them to, or something as involved as forcing you to have sex with them against your will. Assault can be if someone makes you look at or be a part of pornography (porn/video taping sexual acts) or prostitution (taking money for sex).
Another thing I learned is that it’s sexual assault when someone can’t agree to any type of sexual activity because he/she is drunk, high or asleep, or is too disabled or too young to give their permission. It’s still considered sexual assault if you agree to do something and then change your mind – if they don’t stop, it’s assault.
We all have limits about what’s okay with us and what isn’t, even when it comes to touching. Some people like to hug or get a kiss when they are saying hi to a friend or someone they know. Other people would rather just shake someone’s hand or smile. What is okay for one person may not be okay for someone else.
You always have the right to say what is best for you and your body. If you are not comfortable with a certain kind of touching, it is your right to say so, no matter who’s touching you.
So, for example, it might be okay for you if a boyfriend, girlfriend or some one you’re dating touches your butt, but if you’re not comfortable with them doing it, you have a right to tell them to stop and they should respect that. If they don’t stop, this is sexual assault. Even if someone else, like a co-worker, classmate or stranger touches you in a way you don’t want them to, that could be considered sexual assault too.
There are some people who touch inappropriately and try to make it seem like they’re doing it to be funny or that it’s no big deal. They might act hurt if you tell them to stop (like the creepy manager I had at the store I worked at who would insist on hugging me every time he saw me – and those hugs lasted just a little too long). That’s their problem. If they really care for you, they won’t want you to be uncomfortable. This can be tough for anyone, but especially if you’ve never dealt with it before. It can be hard or scary to tell someone “no” if they touch you in a way that is inappropriate or makes you feel weird. And, depending on your age, you may have extra protections that the law has made for situations like this.
Rape is one kind of sexual assault and happens when someone’s body part or an object enters another person’s mouth, anus (butt) or vagina against their will.
I read that sexual assault usually happens because someone wants to have power and control over someone else. I think it’s important for everyone to understand the truth about sexual assault, so you can know when it’s happening to you or someone you know.
One type of sexual assault is forced sex. Forced sex happens when a person physically forces him or herself on you. It can also mean someone tricking, threatening, or pushing you into having sex when you don’t want to. If you feel like you have to have sex because a person says they will hurt you or someone you love, or threatens you with something like getting you fired or lowering your grade, that can also be considered forced sex.
Forced sex can happen with anyone, including strangers, people you know but aren’t close to, and boyfriends and girlfriends. It can happen in straight, gay, or lesbian relationships to girls, guys, or people who are transgender (a person whose gender identity is different than their biological sex). Some people think (and people who abuse, sometimes tell the person they are abusing) that they have a right to sex because they are in a relationship with someone. They might make their partners have sex with them when the other person doesn’t want to, or is unable to say one way or the other (like if they’re passed out or asleep). That’s not okay. If it’s against your will, it’s sexual assault, no matter what type of relationship they have with you.
Unfortunately, many of these situations go unreported because people do not know that they are protected from this by law.
Your relationship partner must respect when you do not want to have sex or participate in sexual activities, or legal action can be taken against him or her.
You always have the right to say no… even if things have already started with your consent. Something may seem okay to you at first, but it’s also okay to stop if it’s weird or stops feeling okay. If you decide at any time you want to stop, the person you are with must respect your wishes and stop, or it becomes a case of sexual assault.
Sometimes after you’ve had sex, you may feel like you did it for reasons other than actually wanting to do it. If someone convinces you to do something you wouldn’t normally do using threats, bribes, or even getting you drunk or high, this is called coercion. Sexual coercion is sexual assault, because it means you were unfairly manipulated into doing it.
People who have been victims often feel ashamed and guilty about what happened. If they were talked into having sex or forced into it, they may think no one will believe them. This is not true. Manipulation is not okay and it’s also considered abuse, and there are people who will listen and help. For more information about coercion, and your options after a sexual assault, check out the following resources in our resource section.