Understanding Sexual Assault

Root Causes of Sexual Assault


Sexual Assault Explained

Sexual assault is any forced, coerced, unwanted sexual contact.

While there are specific legal definitions of rape and sexual assault in the Texas Penal Code, sexual violence is best understood as a broader continuum of unwanted non-mutual sexual activities that range from subtle to extremely violent1. Sexual assault can include, but is not limited to, rape, sexual threats and intimidation, incest, sexual assault by intimate partners, child sexual abuse, human sexual trafficking, sexual harassment, street harassment and other forms of unwelcome, coerced or non-consensual activity. The terms sexual abuse are also often used to describe the wide range of activities that constitute sexual assault.1

1 “About Sexual Violence.” California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. N.p., n.d. Web.

Rape Culture

“What is rape culture? It is a complex of beliefs that encourages male sexual
aggression and supports violence against women. It occurs in a society where violence is
seen as sexy and sexuality as violent. In a rape culture women perceive a continuum of
threatened violence that ranges from sexual remarks to sexual touching to rape itself. A
rape culture condones physical and emotional terrorism against women as the norm.
In a rape culture both men and women assume that sexual violence is a fact of life,
inevitable as death or taxes. This violence, however, is neither biologically nor divinely
ordained. Much of what we accept as inevitable is in fact the expression of values and
attitudes that can change.”²

² Buchwald, E. et. al. (1993) Transforming a Rape Culture. Minneapolis, MN: Milkweed Editions

Sexual Assault Statistics

  • 6.3 million Texans have experienced some form of sexual assault in their lifetime1
  • 2 in 5 women in Texas have been sexually assaulted1
  • 1 in 5 men in Texas has been sexually assaulted1
  • 91% of sexual assault victims did not report to law enforcement1
  • 90% of all child victims are assaulted by someone they know2
  • Studies confirm the undetected rapist is a serial hunter and serial offender – not the misunderstood drunk guy3
  • Over 94% of rapists roam free with only 3% ever spending a day in jail4

Statistic References:

1. Busch-Armendariz, N.B., Olaya, D., Kerwick, M., Wachter, K. & Sulley, C. (2015). Health and well-being: Texas statewide sexual assault prevalence. The University of Texas at Austin, Institute on Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault: Austin, Texas

2.Retrieved from: http://www.nationalchildrensalliance.org/cac-statistics

3. Madigan, T. (2012). The serial rapists is not who you think. Star Telegram Online Retrieved from: www.star-telegram.com/2012/08/19/4191666/the-serial-rapist-is-not-who-you.html

4. Retrieved from: http://www.rainn.org/get-information/statistics/reporting-rates

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