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)Picture6 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.