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Sexual Assault is a Crime.

Sexual assault is defined as intentional sexual contact by force, threats, intimidation, abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent.

Defining Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault is defined as intentional sexual contact by force, threats, intimidation, abuse of authority, or when the victim does not or cannot consent. Acts of Sexual assault include:

  • Rape
  • Forcible sodomy (oral or anal sex)
  • Inappropriate sexual contact, even through clothing
  • Unwanted sexual contact that is aggravated, abusive, or wrongful
  • Fondling
  • Attempts to commit any of the above


“Consent” is given when a competent person (for example: someone who is not under the influence) makes an agreement with another person through overt acts or words that sexual contact is okay. Any expression of dissent through words or conduct means THERE IS NO CONSENT.

“No” means “No.” But what if the victim didn’t say anything?

If someone was unable to say “no” or physically resist the sexual contact because they were forced, threatened, or intimidated, it still indicates no consent was given. Some scenarios that constitute a lack of consent include:

  • When the victim is under the influence, unconscious, or disabled
  • When the victim is too afraid to say “no”
  • When the victim is underage
  • When the victim changes his/her mind about consenting
  • When the accused does not confirm consent


Remember: It doesn’t matter if a current or previous relationship exists between the victim and the alleged subject. Nor does it matter what the victim was wearing. Neither gives anyone the right to engage in sexual contact without consent!

Why is Sexual Assault a Crime?

Sexual Assault is punishable under the Uniform Code of Military Justice (UCMJ) and other Federal and Civilian laws. It’s a crime because it is an act of violence against another person – a factor not often recognized given the penchant for offenders to think of sexual contact without consent as “bad sex”, a right earned based on a present or past relationship, or the result of a misunderstanding on the victim’s part.

From the victim's perspective, the act of sexual assault bears almost no resemblance to the act of sex. Victims of rape experience it as a terrifying trauma where they often fear for their lives. They may show psychological effects of assault for many months, even years after the incident.

Common Effects on Victims: (Individual reactions vary widely.)

  • Anxiety
  • Powerlessnes
  • Disorganization
  • Numbing
  • Self-blame
  • Poor self-care
  • Depression
  • Withdrawal
  • Distorted self-image
  • Gastrointestinal issues
  • Disturbance in eating patterns
  • Disturbance in sleeping patterns

The National Guard does not tolerate sexual assault for the traumatic effects it has on its victims, as well as the serious morale problems it creates, destroying esprit de corps, diminishing the reputation of the Military, and impacting everyone in the victim’s unit – factors that degenerate overall mission readiness and endanger Service Members and their Families.

Prevention Pages

Bystander Intervention: Get tips to help stop a sexual assault before it happens View

Risk Factors for Sexual Assault: See what common factors are associated with sexual assault View

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