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Sexual Assault is it sexual assault?

If you are in immediate danger or feel unsafe, call 911.

YWCA 24-Hour Confidential Crisis Line
616.776.RAPE
616.776.7273

For all other YWCA Sexual Assault Services
Call 616.459.4652 (business hours only)


Every state has its own definitions of rape and sexual assault, so the precise legal definition depends on where you live. The general meaning of the terms "rape" and "sexual assault" are described below.

RAPE is forced sexual intercourse, including psychological coercion and physical force. Forced sexual intercourse means vaginal, anal and/or oral penetration by the offender(s). This definition includes incidents where the penetration is from a foreign object. This includes attempted rapes, male and female victims, and heterosexual and homosexual rape.

SEXUAL ASSAULT includes a wide range of victimizations, distinct from rape or attempted rape. These crimes include completed or attempted attacks generally involving unwanted sexual contact between the victim and offender. Sexual assaults may or may not involve force and include such things as grabbing or fondling. Sexual assault also includes verbal threats.

The relationship between the assailant and the victim is not a factor in determining whether rape or assault has occurred.

Information provided by the US Department of Justice National Crime Victimization Survey; and Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network [RAINN]

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