Sexual Assault is any type of forced or coerced sexual contact or behavior that happens without consent. Sexual assault includes rape and attempted rape, child molestation, groping, forced kissing and sexual harassment or threats. Sexual assault is a crime of power and control.
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. It’s about clear communication and it should take place every time sexual activity occurs. Consent can also be withdrawn at any point and should be acknowledged and respected.
Force doesn’t always refer to physical pressure. Perpetrators may use emotional bullying, psychological force, or manipulation to coerce a victim into non-consensual sex. Some perpetrators will use threats to force a victim to comply, such as threatening to hurt the victim or their family or other intimidation tactics. (womenshealth.gov, rainn.org)
- In 2014, over 5,500 individuals accessed services for the first time at a Rape Crisis Center in South Carolina (DHEC)
- Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men report being raped during their lifetime. In addition, 45.9% of South Carolina women and 17.8% of men in our state report being victims of sexual violence or coercion other than rape. (www.cdc.gov)