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What is

Sexual Assault & Rape

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual contact or sexual attention committed by force, threats, bribes, manipulation, pressure, tricks or violence.

It includes rape and attempted rape, child molestation, incest and sexual harassment.

Sexual assault is a terrifying and often brutal crime

Assailants can be strangers, acquaintances,  current or former partners, friends or family members

 Rape occurs every six minutes in the U.S., according to FBI research

Rape is a crime of violence, anger and power. It is not motivated by sexual desire. Rapists use sexual violence as a weapon to control, humiliate and hurt their victims.

It is never the

        Victims Fault

Defining Sexual Assault

Defining Rape

The term sexual assault refers to sexual contact or behavior that occurs without explicit consent of the victim.


Some forms of sexual assault include:


  • Attempted rape

  • Fondling or unwanted sexual touching

  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body

  • Penetration of the victim’s body, also known as rape

Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assault is rape. The term rape is often used as a legal definition to specifically include sexual penetration without consent. For its Uniform Crime Reports, the FBI defines rape as “penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Who are the Perpetrators?

The majority of perpetrators are someone known to the victim. Approximately seven out of 10 of sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim, such as in the case of intimate partner sexual violence or acquaintance rape.

What is Consent?

Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. There are many ways to give consent, and some of those are discussed below. Consent doesn’t have to be verbal, but verbally agreeing to different sexual activities can help both you and your partner respect each other’s boundaries.

Examples of Positive Consent

  • Communicating when you change the type or degree of sexual activity with phrases like “Is this OK?”

  • Explicitly agreeing to certain activities, either by saying “yes” or another affirmative statement, like “I’m open to trying.”

  • Using physical cues to let the other person know you’re comfortable taking things to the next level


Recovering from Sexual Violence

Recovering from a sexual assault or abuse is a process, and that process looks different for everyone. It may take weeks, months, or years.

There’s no timetable for healing.

Recovery can include working with a therapist to help deal with some of the challenges you may be facing, practicing self-care and safety planning.


What do I do Next?

Wesley Shelter is dedicated to providing the answers and support you need. We can help you navigate through the services and support that you need to begin the healing process.


Call our main crisis line at 252-291-2344 and speak to a victim advocate.


All calls are free and confidential. 

Get Help

We are here when you need us.

Help a Friend

Learn more about supporting a friend

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