What is Sexual Assault?

Sexual violence is common. According to the CDC, half of women and 1 in 3 men have experienced sexual violence involving unwanted physical contact during their lifetime.

Sexual violence includes various types of unwanted sexual touching or penetration without consent. It also includes any form of verbal or digital harassment.


Image description: pyramid of sexual violence separated into 4 categories and 5 levels. The first category and bottom layer of the pyramid is "attitudes and beliefs." This layer consists of racism, sexism, victim blaming, rape jokes, etc. The next category is the normalization of violence. This consists of cat-calling, non-consensual photo sharing, revenge porn, etc. The next category is removal of autonomy, and it consists of non-consenual touching, sexual coercion, safe-word violation, stalking, etc. The top category in the pyramid of sexual vioelnce are physical expressions of violence. It consists of murder, rape, sexual assault, eetc.

Sexual assault and sexual harassment include things such as:

  • Forced penetration
  • Forcing a victim to perform sexual acts, such as oral sex or penetrating the perpetrator’s body
  • Unwanted fondling or sexual touching
  • Attempted rape
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sending unsolicited nude pictures
  • Cat-calling, etc.



Any unwanted sexual contact that makes a person uncomfortable contributes to the buildup of sexual violence.

The Pyramid of Sexual Violence shows how dysfunctional beliefs/attitudes of things like homophobia and sexism create the normalization of sexual violence. Unfortunately, these dysfunctional beliefs, the normalization of violence, and removal of autonomy have led to physical expressions of violence that can build up to physical consequences like rape/sexual assault and murder.

The continuum of sexual violence includes rape, statutory rape (when the victim is under the age of consent), date/acquaintance rape, incest, child sexual assault, sexual exploitation, sexual harassment, etc.

Sexual assault is never okay, and it is abuse.

You have a right to feel safe no matter what your gender identity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic class, immigration status, age, or race is. Help is available. We believe you.

Call the DVIS 24-Hour Information and Crisis Line to speak to an advocate or to get information at (918)-743-5763 or (918)-7HELP.ME