Sexual Assault

What is it?

The Definition

SEXUAL ASSAULT:  Any type of sexual contact that is nonconsensual, forced or coerced, or when the victim is incapable of giving consent because of her/his temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity or because of her/his youth.

Sexual Assault is the use of any kind of sexual behavior as a weapon to harm an individual. Sexual assault includes: street harassment, sexual harassment, incest, stranger assault, and acquaintance rape. Some behaviors indicating sexual violence include: the use of physical force; coercion or verbal manipulation; verbal and/or visual harassment; use of drugs or alcohol to facilitate an assault.

Sexual assault can happen to anyone regardless of age, race, gender, class status, sexual orientation, ability, religion, or physical appearance. There are things that we can do to reduce our risks of experiencing sexual assault, but the only person who can stop rape completely is the rapist. Rape is never the survivor’s fault.

Most perpetrators target people they know - family members, friends, acquaintances - and use trust or their authority as a weapon against their victim.


The Facts

Take Back the Night Drums

  • 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some form of sexual assault before reaching the age of 18.
  • Women with disabilities are twice as likely to experience a sexual assault than are able-bodied women.
  • Women of color experience a higher rate of sexual assault than white women.
  • The number one place where people experience sexual violence is in their own home.


The Law

In Michigan the legal term used for “sexual assault” or “rape” is Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC). The CSC law covers marital partners, children and same sex sexual assault. There are four degrees of criminal sexual conduct. 

If you feel like you have experienced sexual violence and need support and/or resources, please contact our program—we can help.