Sexual Assault - Definitions
Any non-consensual sexual activity or unwanted behavior that one or more person(s)
forces or manipulates upon another. Sexual assault includes rape (vaginal, oral,
or anal penetration), incest, and other unwanted sexual contact. Sexual assault is a crime.
- Sexual assault (as defined above) that was committed by someone the survivor knew.
- 1 in 36 college women are sexually assaulted or the victim of attempted rapes in any given academic year. (U.S. Department of Justice, 2000)
- Rape/sexual assault was the only violent crime against college students more likely
to be committed by a person the victim knew. Non-strangers committed 74% of the rape/sexual
assaults against college students (U.S. Department of Justice, 2000).
- Consent is when both people willingly agree to a specific sexual behavior.
- Consent is active, not passive. Consent is not the absence of no or of resistance -- it is someone saying yes.
- Consent is ongoing, and allows for withdrawal of consent at any time without fear of humiliation or retaliation.
- The person initiating the sexual contact is responsible for getting consent.
- Consent is required for every form of sexual activity every time. Just because you may have been sexually active with the person before does not mean that you have consent for future sexual contact.
- Consent cannot be given if forced, threatened, intimidated, or coerced.
- Consent cannot be given when judgment is impaired by alcohol or drugs, or if the person
not initiating is asleep or unconscious. Being under the influence is not an affirmative
defense. According to Connecticut state law, having sexual intercourse with someone
who cannot give consent is rape.
Date Rape Drugs
The three most common "date rape drugs" are alcohol, GHB and Rohypnol.
Alcohol lowers a person's inhibitions and interferes with his or her judgment and decision-making, which makes for potentially dangerous sexual situations. In one situation, deciding to have sex with someone while you are under the influence can put you in an embarrassing predicament the next morning. In another situation, it can cause you to be the victim of sexual assault or leave you with a serious condition such as AIDS or other sexually transmitted illnesses (STIs).
GHB and rohypnol
GHB (gamma hydroxyl butyrate), also known as liquid ecstasy, and Rohypnol are central nervous system depressants that can cause dizziness, disorientation, loss of inhibition, memory blackouts, and loss of consciousness when mixed with alcohol. Both are odorless, colorless, and tasteless, so you may not even realize it if someone slips one of these substances into your drink. Because they may cause you to pass out, ingesting them may put you at risk for sexual assault.
A number of precautions can be taken to reduce the risk of experiencing a drug-related sexual assault including:
- Do not binge drink.
- Do not leave beverages unattended.
- Do not take drinks from large open containers, such as punch bowls.
- At parties, do not accept unknown drugs or open container drinks from anyone.
- At a party use the "buddy system." Be alert to the behavior of friends, and take note of anyone appearing unduly inebriated in relation to the amount of alcohol they have consumed.
- Anyone who believes they have consumed a sedative-like substance should be driven to a hospital emergency room or call 911 for an ambulance. Try to keep a sample of the beverage for analysis.