What is Sexual Assault?


Sexual assault is a crime of power and control and includes any forced, coerced, or unwanted sexual contact. Consent can only be given when there is equal power.   Your body is your own and no one has the right to touch you without your permission, regardless of who the person is—a dating or marital partner, a family member, teacher, friend, etc.


While there are specific legal definitions of rape and sexual assault in the Texas Penal Code, sexual violence is best understood as a broader continuum of unwanted non-mutual sexual activities that range from subtle to extremely violent. Sexual assault can include, but is not limited to, rape, sexual threats and intimidation, incest, sexual assault by intimate partners, child sexual abuse, human sexual trafficking, sexual harassment, street harassment and other forms of unwelcome, coerced or non-consensual activity. The terms sexual abuse are also often used to describe the wide range of activities that constitute sexual assault.1

                      1 “About Sexual Violence.” California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. N.p., n.d. Web.