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Sexual Assault Awareness: What you Should Know

            April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. According to RAINN, the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization, “The term ‘sexual violence’ is an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse” (RAINN). This article will outline what sexual violence is, some statistics, and ways to contact help for yourself or someone you may know.

What is Sexual Violence?

  • “The term ‘sexual violence’ is an all-encompassing, non-legal term that refers to crimes like sexual assault, rape, and sexual abuse” (RAINN).

Who can be Affected by Sexual Violence?

  • Anyone can be affected by sexual assault.

What are Some Different Examples of Sexual Violence?

  • According to the RAINN Organization, there are unfortunately many different types of sexual violence. Here are some examples:
    • Sexual Harassment– Sexual harassment includes unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature in the workplace or learning environment, according to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
    • Stalking– Stalking is a pattern of repeated and unwanted attention, harassment, contact, or any other course of conduct directed at a specific person that would cause a reasonable person to feel fear, according to the Department of Justice. Similar to crimes of sexual violence, stalking is about power and control.
    • Using Technology to Hurt Others– Some people use technology—such as photos, videos, social media, and dating apps—to engage in harassing, unsolicited, or non-consensual sexual interactions. It can leave the person on the other end feeling manipulated, unsafe, exposed, and worried about their online reputation.
    • Sexual Abuse by Medical Professionals– When you go to the doctor, dentist, hospital or physical therapist, or see other medical professionals, you trust them to treat you with respect as they care for your health. Sexual abuse by a medical professional is a serious violation of trust, medical ethics, and the law.
    • Multiple-Perpetrator Sexual Assault– Multiple-perpetrator sexual assault occurs when two or more perpetrators act together to sexually assault the same victim.
  • There are unfortunately many other forms of sexual violence. Above just outlines a few different forms of sexual violence that are commonly seen.


  • While Pennsylvania does not have a specific definition of consent, a person commits a first degree felony when they engage in sexual intercourse by forcible compulsion, which Pennsylvania does define.
  • Forcible Compulsion– compulsion by use of physical, intellectual, moral, emotional, or psychological force, either express or implied. The term includes, but is not limited to, compulsion resulting in another person’s death, whether the death occurred before, during or after sexual intercourse.



  • The RAINN Organization has multiple statistics relating to sexual violence:
    • Every 73 seconds another American is sexually assaulted.
    • 1 out of every 6 American women has been the victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime (14.8% completed, 2.8% attempted).
    • About 3% of American men—or 1 in 33—have experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime.
    • From 2009-2013, Child Protective Services agencies substantiated, or found strong evidence to indicate that, 63,000 children a year were victims of sexual abuse.
    • A majority of child victims are 12-17. Of victims under the age of 18: 34% of victims of sexual assault and rape are under age 12, and 66% of victims of sexual assault and rape are age 12-17.
    • 9 out of every 10 victims of rape are female.

How to Help

  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline is free and confidential 24/7
    • Call 800-656-HOPE if you are someone you know is experiencing any form of sexual violence.
    • They also have a chat system online that is available 24/7.
  •  Donations to the RAINN organization help survivors every single day
    • 95 cents of every $1 goes to helping survivors and preventing sexual violence. 
Hi! My name is Bailee Hendricks. I am a Her Campus Scranton Member at the University of Scranton.
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