Sexual Assault

Assault Survivors Advocacy Program (ASAP)

Sexual Assault

The term sexual assault is used as a catch all, and therefore may have a variety of meanings. Usually the term sexual assault refers to a specific act of sexual violence. Assault may refer to rape, incest, touching of intimate body parts, or other acts of sexual intrusion without consent. it refers to acts of sexual violence perpetrated against an adult or child, by a loved one, acquaintance or stranger. Each state legislature has its own legal definition of sexual assault.


Rape refers to sexual intrusion or penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth, with any object, without consent. The term rape is sometimes used synonymously with sexual violence and sexual assault.

Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is generally used to describe the sexual assault of children or other instances of sexual assault perpetrated by a person in a position of trust or intimacy.

Myths and Facts

Refuting myths and understanding facts is a crucial step toward demanding respect for survivors and insuring that they receive adequate and appropriate information and services. A leading factor that contributes to women's vulnerability to sexual assault is the lack of adequate information, and a shallow understanding of the causes of sexual assault. Myths about sexual assault, allow the view that sexual assault is someone else's problem, rather than an issue that affects everyone. Sexual assault is a community problem and a community responsibility.

MYTH: Rape is provoked by the survivor.

FACT: Rape is not a sexually motivated act that happens to be forceful. For the survivor, it is a humiliating and often life-threatening situations. No person would ask for or deserve such an attack. Sex is used as a weapon to defile, degrade and destroy a survivors will and control over his/her body. Rape is not a spontaneous crime of sexual passion. it is a violent attack on an individual, using sex as a weapon.

MYTH: Only young attractive women are sexually assaulted.

FACT: Regardless of age, race, gender, economic background, or physical appearance, all of us are vulnerable to sexual assault. Women are at greater risk than men. Women as old as 96 years, and children as young as 6 months have been raped. There is no clearly defined group of people subject to attack.