The Difference Between Sexual Assault, Sexual Battery and Rape

This week is sex week here at VCU and although we may not want to address the more serious topics they are still just as important. There are resources all over both campus and the city that you as a student, parent, or friend can use if you or someone you know may have been sexually assaulted, battered or raped.

Every 109 seconds someone is sexually assaulted in the United States. Men, women and children are being sexually abused as a way for another person to gain some sort of sick pleasure. Recently, there have been many incidents around not only my own college but many others in the United States. I soon realized just how much we do not know when it comes to sexual abuse. There are three main types of sexual abuse; sexual assault, sexual battery and rape. There is a very large misconception around college campuses about what these terms really mean.

According to the U.S. Department of Justice; “Sexual assault is any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling and attempted rape.” There are also even more specific guidelines to what sexual assault is when looking at your own state. Specifically, the Code of Virginia § 18.2-359 covers the general description of sexual assault for the commonwealth of Virginia.

Sexual battery can be defined as “An unwanted form of contact with an intimate part of the body that is made for purposes of sexual arousal, sexual gratification or sexual abuse. Sexual battery may occur whether the victim is clothed or not.” (Source) Intimidation, threats, and force are all different ways that sexual battery can occur. Like sexual assault, sexual battery also has a part in the Code of Virginia under section § 18.2-67.4.

Rape is “the penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.” This is the newest definition given by the U.S. Department of Justice, the older definition was mainly based off of women who had been raped but the newest definition allows for all genders and gender identities to be acknowledged.

Sexual abuse in any form is a very serious thing and there are many different resources that are available to you. Below is a list of resources for both VCU students and non-VCU students. If you or anyone else you know has ever been sexually assaulted please speak up and anonymously call one of the hotlines listed below. According to the Rape Abuse & Incest National Network, only six out of every 1,000 rapists end up in jail, by calling and telling your story you can help make that statistic change.

National Resources:

Rape Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN)

  • Online Chat help available 24/7

  • National 24/7 Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673)

National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC)

  • National Hotline: 1-877-739-3895

Virginia Family Violence & Sexual Assault 24-Hour Hotline

  • 1-800-838-8238

National Domestic Violence Hotline

(source)

  • 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)

  • Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) : 1-800-787-3224

VCU Resources:

VCU Police

  • Emergency #: (804) 828-1234 (Ext. 8-1234 from a VCU campus phone)

  • Non-Emergency #: (804) 828-1196

  • Web: Police.vcu.edu

VCU Police Victim-Witness Specialist:

  • Cpl. Tricia Mozingo (804) 828-6356 E-Mail: [email protected] “If you have general questions about the criminal justice process, even if you are not ready to report, you may contact Cynthia Micklem, Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney for the City of Richmond, at (804) 646-8685 or by e-mailing [email protected].”

Within 72 hours of the attack please go to VCU Medical Center's Forensic nursing office, 1250 E. Marshall St.

  • (804) 628-0623

After 72 hours of the attack please go to the University Student Health Services, 1300 W. Broad St., Suite 2200

  • (804) 828-8828

(source)