Sexual assault is any sexual activity to which you haven't freely given your consent. This includes completed or attempted sex acts that are against your will. Sometimes it can involve a victim who is unable to consent. It also includes abusive sexual contact. It can happen to men, women or children.
The attacker can be anyone - a current or former partner, a family member, a person in position of power or trust, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger.
Sexual assault can affect your health in many ways. It can lead to long-term health and emotional problems. It is important to seek help if you have been assaulted. First, get to a safe place. Then dial 9-1-1 or go to a hospital for medical care. You may want to have counseling to deal with your feelings. The most important thing to know is that the assault was not your fault.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Prevention and Risk Factors
- Sexual Violence Is Preventable (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- Date Rape Drugs (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health) Also in Spanish
- Men and Sexual Trauma (National Center for PTSD)
- Military Sexual Trauma (Department of Veterans Affairs) - PDF
- Sexual Assault against Females (National Center for PTSD)
- Sexual Violence on Campus: Strategies for Prevention (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- What Is Rape and Date Rape? (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)
Statistics and Research
- Intersection of Intimate Partner Violence and HIV in Women (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Intimate Partner Violence in the United States - 2010 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey: 2010 Highlights (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) - PDF
- Rape and Sexual Assault Victimization Among College-Age Females, 1995-2013 (Department of Justice)
- Sexual Violence: Data Sources (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
Journal Articles References and abstracts from MEDLINE/PubMed (National Library of Medicine)
- Article: Effects of exposure to sexually explicit material on sexually violent behavior...
- Article: Personal and sexual boundaries: the experiences of people with intellectual disabilities.
- Article: Sexual violence in a Colombian municipality: Victims’ and offenders’ characteristics, 2011-2020
- Sexual Assault -- see more articles
Find an Expert
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Also in Spanish
- Department of Justice, Office on Violence Against Women
- National Center for PTSD
- Violence against Women: Resources by State (Department of Health and Human Services, Office on Women's Health)