Sexual assault is a crime that is not unique to any gender, race, or age. DOD defines sexual assault as "intentional sexual contact, characterized by the use of force, threats, intimidation, or abuse of authority or when the victim does not or cannot consent."
Don't fall for the blame game. The victim is never to blame. If you were sexually assaulted, you are never at fault for the crime. Nothing you did (or did not do) makes you responsible for the assault.
What Is Consent . . .
Consent is given with words or overt acts indicating a freely given agreement to the sexual contact by a "competent" person. You are considered "incompetent" if you are sleeping or incapacitated, due to alcohol or drug use, mental incapacity, or age.
What Is NOT Consent . . .
Lack of verbal or physical resistance is not consent. Neither is submission, cooperation, compliance, or coercion. When someone is sleeping or incapacitated, there is no consent. Also, a current or previous dating relationship and manner of dress at the time do not mean consent.
The important thing to remember about consent is that you should never make assumptions or guesses about what the other person is thinking or feeling. If there is any doubt at any point, either ask your partner if he or she is okay or just back off.
What Offenses Are Sexual Assault?
Sexual assault includes a broad category of sexual offenses, including rape, forcible sodomy (oral or anal sex), and other unwanted sexual contact that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful (including unwanted and inappropriate sexual contact) or attempts to commit these acts.
Myths about Sexual Assault
Misconceptions or myths about sexual assault cause confusion about what the crime actually looks like. These false ideas also create stereotypes about the victim and the offender. Here are just a few.
|Myth||Sexual assault is typically committed by someone unknown to the victim (think "stranger danger").|
|Truth||The majority of sexual assaults are perpetrated by a person who is known to the victim.|
|Myth||Sexual assault in the Marine Corps is just a "female" problem.|
|Truth||While female Marines experience unwanted sexual contact (USC) at a higher rate than males, about the same number of male and female Marines experienced USC in FY14.* However, males are less likely to report the crime.|
|Myth||An unwanted kiss or grabbing a body part is an "innocent act" by someone just having fun.|
|Truth||Any unwanted or inappropriate sexual contact is considered assault, even attempts to do so.|
"Arm Yourself with Knowledge" To learn more about sexual assault, go to the Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program page.
When a victim of sexual assault decides to report, it's important to understand the options available.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, there are a number of things you may want to consider doing to keep yourself safe and healthy.
If you are a victim of sexual assault, just talking to another person can be helpful. Here are five confidential resources to get the process started.