Sexual Abuse and Assault Against Women

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Sexual assault can be verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment. It can happen in different situations, by a stranger in an isolated place, on a date, or in the home by someone you know.

Rape is a common form of sexual assault. It is committed in many situations—on a date, by a friend or an acquaintance, or when you think you are alone. Educate yourself on “date rape” drugs. They can be slipped into a drink when a victim is not looking. Never leave your drink unattended—no matter where you are. Try to always be aware of your surroundings. Date rape drugs make a person unable to resist assault and have a type of memory loss so the victim doesn’t know what happened.

Violence against women by any one is always wrong, whether the abuser is someone you date; a current or past spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend; a family member; an acquaintance; or a stranger. You are not at fault. You did not cause the abuse to occur, and you are not responsible for the violent behavior of someone else. If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, seek help from other family members and friends or community organizations. Reach out for support or counseling. Talk with a health care provider, especially if you have been physically hurt. Learn how to minimize your risk of becoming a victim of sexual assault or sexual abuse before you find yourself in an uncomfortable or threatening situation. And, learn about how to get help for sexual assault and abuse below. Another important part of getting help is knowing if you are in an abusive relationship. There are clear signs to help you know if you are being abused.


  • Facts About Sexual Harassment – This fact sheet contains information on what sexual harassment is and how to file a complaint for unwelcome sexual advances in the workplace.
  • Frequently Asked Questions – Sexual Assault – This fact sheet explains sexual assault and gives information on what to do if you’ve been sexually assaulted, where you can go for help, how you can protect yourself, and how you can help someone who has been sexually assaulted.
  • Incest (Copyright © NCVC) – This publication outlines the problem of child sexual abuse and incest in America. It reveals that incest, or rape by a family member, comprises a large portion of all rapes in the United States, while it remains the most under-reported and least discussed crime in our nation. It also discusses the effects that abuse can have on the victims and community as a whole.
  • Myths and Facts about Sexual Violence – This fact sheet debunks common misunderstandings about rape and sexual assault. Topics discussed include victim characteristics, risk assumption, drug use, perpetrators, location of rapes and more.
  • Preventing Sexual Assaults – This publication lists ways to help protect yourself from sexual assault and gives steps that men can take to prevent sexual assaults on women.
  • Sexual Assault Against Females – This publication explains what sexual assault is, how often it happens, how a woman may feel after a sexual assault, and where to go for help.
  • Sexual Assault on Campus: What Colleges and Universities Are Doing About It – This publication explores the sexual assault cases on college campuses and provides information for why sexual assault may happen more frequently on college campuses than at most other places. It also provides information regarding the steps taken by colleges and universities to reduce the number of incidences that occur.
  • Sexual Violence Fact Sheet – This fact sheet discusses the prevalence and incidence of sexual violence, the associated risk factors, and consequences. It also provides some strategies in trying to prevent sexual violence.
  • What to Do After a Rape or Sexual Assault – This fact sheet lists the steps to take if you, a friend, or a family member is raped or sexually assaulted. It also describes the physical and emotional effects of rape and how you can get help.
  • What You Can Do if You Are a Victim of Crime – This publication contains information on what you can do if you’ve been a victim of crime and lists resources that can help.