I’ve written before about rapists who don’t think they’re rapists. Men who sexually assault women but don’t regard themselves as guilty of sexual assault. Men who find such labels ‘unfair’. If you are one such man, this post is for you.
I have helpfully compiled information from a couple of Rape Crisis Centers, definitions to help you understand when you have raped, sexually assaulted or abused someone else. In case you weren’t sure. Or in case you couldn’t admit it to yourself.
Let’s start with S.A.R.C, Sexual Assault Resource Centre,located in Western Kenya where I am from. The lovely ladies at S.A.R.C have been so kind to me over the course of my recovery.
Here’s what they have to say- cut and pasted from their website (link above).
What is sexual assault?
Sexual assault can be a violent, unexpected, traumatic and sometimes life threatening event or series of events. Sexual assault is ANY unwanted sexual act or behavior which is threatening, violent, forced or coercive and to which a person has not given consent or was not able to give consent.
The term ‘sexual violence’ is often used to describe sexual assault and sexual abuse.
What is sexual abuse?
Sexual abuse is when someone in a position of power or authority takes advantage of a person’s trust and respect to involve them in sexual activity. It can involve any of the examples above.
Sexual abuse can occur between:
- A child and an adult
- A child and an older child
- A patient and a doctor
- A student and a teacher
- A parishioner and a priest
What is rape and what is date rape?
Rape is another word used for sexual assault. It is ANY unwanted sexual act or behaviour, which a person did not consent to or was not able to consent to.
Date rape happens when someone you have just met or are going out with forces or manipulates you into having unwanted sexual contact. Date rape can involve forced sexual acts or subtle or threatening sexual behaviour.
Regardless of your relationship, sexual contact without consent is against the law.
I also visited an American organisation, RAINN– Rape Abuse and Incest National Network. They had some really useful information too.
Sexual assault is unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling. (But, be aware: Some states use this term interchangeably with rape.)
Here are a few commonly asked questions:
Q. I DIDN’T RESIST PHYSICALLY – DOES THAT MEAN IT ISN’T RAPE?
A. People respond to an assault in different ways. Just because you didn’t resist physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape — in fact, many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent.
Q. I USED TO DATE THE PERSON WHO ASSAULTED ME – DOES THAT MEAN IT ISN’T RAPE?
A. Rape can occur when the offender and the victim have a pre-existing relationship (sometimes called “date rape” or “acquaintance rape”), or even when the offender is the victim’s spouse. It does not matter whether the other person is an ex-boyfriend or a complete stranger, and it doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex in the past. If it is nonconsensual this time, it is rape.
Let me wrap it up. If you have ever climbed on top of a teenage girl and used her as a masturbatory aid, ignoring her pleas for you to “Get off” over the course of a year, you sexually assaulted her. Me.
These facts may hurt your feelings, but that doesn’t change what is.
- Actually, The Link Between Sexual Assault And Alcohol Isn’t As Clear As You Think (thinkprogress.org)