Sexual assault is any form of sexual activity that has been forced by one person upon another. If you have experienced sexual violence, it is not your fault.
Sexual violence and sexual assault are part of a spectrum that includes sexual harassment and catcalling, indecent exposure, stalking, showing or distributing demeaning sexual imagery, and online harassment.
Both women and men can be victims of sexual assault. However, statistics show overwhelmingly that women experience sexual violence at a disproportionate rate to men, and that most perpetrators are male. While the vast majority of assaults go unreported, we do know that some groups are targeted in greater numbers:
In a university and college campus environment, 50% of sexual assaults involve alcohol. Many occur in the first two months of the school year. Students who are more likely to be targeted include:
Rape culture includes myths about sexual violence, victim blaming, sexual objectification and glamorization in media and advertising, and the language, jokes, and song lyrics that trivialize sexual violence and consent.
Rape culture normalizes sexual violence and as a result, victims and survivors may not understand what happened to them as rape. You may think you are “overreacting” and decide not to talk to someone, get help, or report the violence. Even if you do recognize what happened to be sexual violence, rape culture can cause you to blame yourself, feel guilt or shame, and fear that you will not be believed, including by professionals and authorities. (Source: Break the Silence)
Sexual assault is often misunderstood or misrepresented in popular culture. Myths include: