Sexual Assault


According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, nationally, 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime, and 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually assaulted before the age of 18. Sexual assault is any kind of unwanted sexual contact, involving many different behaviors, including:

  • Rape or attempted rape- sexual intercourse against a person’s will. This can also be forcible sodomy or forcible object penetration
  • Marital rape- rape within a marriage
  • Unwanted sexual touching
  • Any sexual contact with minors, whether consensual or not
  • Incest- sexual intercourse or sexual intrusion between family members
  • Any unwanted or coerced sexual contact
  • Stalking
  • Sexual harassment
  • Solicitation of minors through the internet
  • Possession or distribution of child pornography

“Consent” is a word that is used often when talking about sexual assault, but do you really know what it means? Check out this great video about consent, what it really means, and how to get it!


Rape is any kind of sexual intercourse against a person’s will. The California Penal Code says that this can occur because of “force, violence, duress, menace, or fear of immediate and unlawful bodily injury on the person or another” or if a person is unconscious, or prevented from resisting by an intoxicating substance. (CA Penal Codes Sec.261) This means that according to California law, rape isn’t always a stranger jumping out of the bushes with a knife or throwing punches. Rape can be submitting to an act because of a direct or even an implied threat of danger. It can happen because of coercion, fear, or being too intoxicated to know what’s really happening.

The most important thing to remember remember about rape is clearly stated in our penal code: “The essential guilt in rape consists in the outrage to the person and the feelings of the victim of the rape. Any sexual penetration, however slight, is enough to complete the crime” (CA Penal Codes Sec.263) If it feels wrong, it probably was. Tell someone you trust or talk to an advocate if you have been raped.

marital rape


It was not until as late as 1993 that martial rape was considered a crime in every state. It was a popularly held view that “real rape” could only be committed by strangers and that forced sex within a marriage was just “wifely duty”. However, marital rape is a very serious form of violence that can be just as physically and emotionally devastating as any other form of sexual assault, maybe even more so, as the act is perpetrated by the one whom you trust the most. Often, marital rape is used repetitively as a form of power and control among other acts of intimate partner violence.
Remember, if your spouse has forced or threatened you to have sex, you have every right to report it to the police or to call our hotline for help!

Photo by Grace Brown,


Stalking consists of virtually any unwanted contact between two people that directly or indirectly communicates a threat or places the victim in fear for their safety.

Stalking is a serious, potentially life-threatening crime, and has the potential to permanently change the lives of the victims, as well as affecting their friends, families and co-workers.

In most situations the stalker had a previous or current personal or romantic relationship with the victim. The relationship may have been casual or intimate. If it was intimate, it is probable that he stalker was abusive and controlling in the relationship. Rejection often triggers this type of stalking. The stalker may use threats of violence to reestablish the control they have lost or to seek revenge.
Stalking behaviors include:

  • Persistent, phone calls, text messages, e-mails or notes
  • Following, tracking – often with GPS
  • Finding the person through public records, online searching, or paid investigators
  • Watching with hidden camera, surveillance
  • Suddenly showing up where the victim is – at home, school, work
  • Sending unwanted packages, cards, gifts, or letters
  • Monitoring the victim’s phone calls or computer usage
  • Contacting the victim’s friends, family & co-workers to find out about the victim
  • Threatening to hurt the victim, their family, friends or pets
  • Damaging the victim’s home, car, or other property

sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is intimidation, bullying or coercion that is sexual in nature, or any unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. Sexual harassment includes a range of behaviors; some may seem simply as mild annoyances while others are sexual abuse or sexual assault. Sexual harassment is a form of illegal employment discrimination in many countries, and is a form of sexual and psychological abuse and bullying. In some circumstances, sexual harassment may also be illegal.

Sexual harassment can occur in a variety of circumstances. Often, the harasser is in a position of power or authority over the victim. The power may be because of a differences in age,social, political, educational or employment type relationships.
Some quick facts about harassment:

  • The harasser can be anyone – a client, a co-worker, a teacher or professor, a student, a friend, or a stranger.
  • The victim does not have to be the person directly harassed but can be anyone who finds the behavior offensive and is affected by it.
  • While adverse effects on the victim are common, this does not have to be the case for the behavior to be unlawful.
  • The victim can be any gender, and the harasser can be any gender.
  • The harasser does not have to be of the opposite sex.
  • It is possible that the harasser may be completely unaware that their behavior is offensive or constitutes sexual harassment or they may be unaware that their actions might be unlawful.

date rape

Date rape, also referred to as “acquaintance rape”, is an assault or attempted assault involving sexual intercourse that takes place without mutual consent. The term may be misleading though, because the person who commits the crime might not be dating the victim, they could be an acquaintance or a stranger.
drug-facilitated date rape

Drugs commonly found to be used in date rape include:

  • Rohypnol: (trade name for Flunitrazepam), is commonly known as a “club drug” because it is usually used in dance clubs and raves. Street names include: Circles, Forget Pill, LA Rochas, Lunch Money, Mexican Valium, Mind Erasers, Roach, Roopies, Roofies, R-2, Roches Dos, Rope, Rophies, Stupifi, Shays, Groundies.
  • Ketamine: Street names include: Black Hole, Bump, Cat Valium, Green, Jet, K, Kit Kat.