Grand Valley State University Women's Center

Sexual Assault

On average, 24 people per minute are victims of rape, physical violence, or stalking in the U.S. (Center for Disease Control, 2011)

Sexual assault is any unwanted sexual behavior or sexual contact obtained without consent or through the use of force, the threat of force, intimidation or coercion. Sexual assault includes sexual harassment, nonconsensual sexual contact or rape.

Sexual assault is a reality for many women on college campuses. Stranger assaults are traumatizing and rightly receive great attention. While images of sexual assault by a stranger saturate our cultural consciousness of sexual violence, on campus, approximately 90 percent of women know the person who sexually assaulted or raped them, according to a 2000 study by the U.S. Department of Justice.  The greatest number of sexual assaults occurs between friends, acquaintances, and dating partners. On college campuses, approximately one in five women and one in 15 men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime.

What is consent?

Consent must be central to any sexual interaction. Giving consent means voluntarily, actively and clearly agreeing to sexual activity. Consent cannot be forced, coerced or assumed. Coercion includes begging, threatening, intimidating or pressuring someone. If either partner is incapacitated by alcohol or drugs, consent cannot be given. If you do not receive consent or give consent, then it is sexual assault.

If you have any questions about this information, the Grand Valley State University’s Women’s Center can assist you. The Women’s Center can advocate for and help support you or a victim/survivor of sexual violence.

Page last modified August 14, 2014