Jennifer L. Truman & Rachel E. Morgan, National Crime Victimization Survey, 2010–14 (2015).
What is Sexual Violence?
Sexual violence refers to any physical sexual act perpetrated against a person’s will or when a person is incapable of giving consent. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, sexual harassment, and sexual exploitation.
81% of women and 35% of men who were victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking reported significant impacts such as Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, physical injury, and concern for safety.
Michele C. Black, Kathleen C. Basile, Matthew J. Breiding, Sharon G. Smith, Mikel L. Walters, Melissa T. Merrick, Jieru Chen, & Mark R. Stevens, The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (2011), available at https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/nisvs_report2010-a.pdf.
What is consent?
Consent is the clear and voluntary agreement to engage in a specific sexual activity. Someone who is asleep or mentally or physically incapacitated, either through the effect of drugs or alcohol or for any other reason, or whose agreement was made under duress or by threat, coercion, or force, cannot give consent. An individual who is mentally incapacitated, unconscious, or unaware that the sexual activity is occurring is also unable to give consent.
What is sexual harassment?
Sexual harassment, which includes acts of sexual violence, encompasses unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal, nonverbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature if so severe, persistent, or pervasive that it explicitly or implicitly affects an individual’s employment, unreasonably interferes with an individual’s work or educational performance, or creates an intimidating or hostile work or educational environment.
63% of sexual assaults are never reported to police.
Callie Marie Rennison, Rape and Sexual Assault: Reporting to Police and Medical Attention (2002), available at http//bjs.ojp.usdoj.gov/content/pub/pdf/rsarp00.pdf.
What is sexual assault?
Generally speaking, sexual assault is any forced, coerced, or unwanted sexual contact. The definition of sexual assault in the Texas Penal Code includes the anal, oral, or vaginal penetration by a sexual organ of another or anal/vaginal penetration by any means against the victim’s will or without the victim’s consent. Tex. Pen. Code § 22.011(a).
What is sexual exploitation?
Sexual exploitation is taking nonconsensual or abusive sexual advantage of another for one’s own advantage or benefit, or to benefit or advantage anyone other than the one being exploited. Examples of sexual exploitation include secretly videotaping sexual activity, voyeurism, sexually-based stalking, invasion of sexual privacy, and knowingly transmitting a sexually transmitted infection to another person.
Rape costs the U.S. $127 billion per year—more than burglary, larceny, assault, murder, or drunk driving.Ted R. Miller, Mark A. Cohen, & Brian Wiersema, Victim Costs and Consequences: A New Look (1996), available at https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/victcost.pdf.
Who is a victim?
A victim is anyone who has been subjected to the unwanted sexual advances of another either by means of sexual assault, sexual harassment or sexual exploitation. One’s status as a victim does not change even if the victim:
- Was drinking, drank too much, or used drugs prior to the assault;
- Was on a date or if the attacker was a friend, classmate, boyfriend, ex-boyfriend, or spouse;
- Had been sexually intimate with the perpetrator or others prior to the assault;
- Had had sex with the perpetrator the day, week, or month before the assault;
- Was unable to fight back or say “no” at the time;
- Was wearing “provocative” or “revealing” clothing; or
- Was at a bar, club, or other seemingly undesirable location.
Where can I find additional resources?
You can find more information through the following organizations:
- The National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Visit Website | call 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) | 1-800-787-3224 (TTY)
- The Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network (RAINN).
Visit Website | call 800-656-HOPE (4673)
- National Sexual Violence Resource Center.
Visit Website | call 1-877-739-3895
- Texas Department of Criminal Justice Victim’s Rights Services.
- Love is Respect.
Visit Website | call 1-866-331-9474 | Text loveis to 22522
- Legal Aid for Survivors of Sexual Assault
- Texas Legal Services Center