OREGON STATE UNIVERSITY

What is Sexual Assault?

Unwanted Sexual Contact

Sexual Assault is any sexual contact that is unwanted, and occurs without a person's consent. A sexual act is non-consensual if it is compelled through coercion, manipulation, force, threats, intimidation, or helplessness. Examples include (but are not limited to):

  • Someone having sex with you when you are high or drunk
  • Telling you that they will spread rumors about you if you do not perform oral sex
  • Forcing you to touch or be touched when you do not want to
  • Continuing to pressure you for sex, despite your resistance or uncertainty, until you finally give in
  • Stalking, harassment, exhibitionism.

Sexual assault can be committed by:

  • Someone the survivor knows, such as a dating partner, friend, classmate, or relative
  • More than one assailant
  • Someone the survivor has never met
  • Someone of the same sex

Sexual assault is not about sexual orientation or desire; it is about power and control.