Was I Sexually Assaulted / Raped?
Sexual assault is not only rape; it is also any unwanted sexual activity. Even if you have said “yes” to sex with the person before, or you are in a relationship, no one has the right to have sex with you or pressure you into doing things you do not want to do. Any time you do not say “yes” to a sex act, it is sexual assault.
Below are some of the common statements WEAVE hears from survivors of sexual assault. If you aren’t sure or want to talk to someone call WEAVE’s 24-Hour Support and Information Line, 916-920-2952.
I didn’t resist physically.
People respond to an assault in different ways. Many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent. Lack of consent can be expressed (saying “no”) or implied by the circumstances (if you were under the statutory age of consent, or had a mental deficiency, or were afraid to object due to threats of physical harm).
I am/was in a relationship with my attacker.
Rape can occur when the offender and the victim have a preexisting relationship (sometimes called “date rape” “spousal rape” or “acquaintance rape”), or even when the offender is the victim’s spouse. It does not matter whether the offender is an ex-boyfriend or a complete stranger. It doesn’t matter if you’ve had sex in the past. If it is non-consensual this time, it is rape.
I don’t remember the assault.
Just because you don’t remember being assaulted doesn’t necessarily mean it didn’t happen and that it wasn’t rape. Memory loss can result from the ingestion of GHB and other “rape drugs” and from excessive alcohol consumption. See Drug Facilitated Sexual Assaults. That said, without clear memories or physical evidence, it may not be possible to pursue prosecution. Talk to your local crisis center or local police for guidance.
I was asleep or unconscious when it happened.
Rape can happen when the victim was unconscious or asleep. If you were asleep or unconscious, you didn’t give your consent. Without your consent, it is rape.
I or the attacker was drunk.
Alcohol and/or drugs are not an excuse or an alibi. The key question is still: did you consent or not? Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex was non-consensual, it is rape. If you were so drunk or drugged that you passed out and unable to consent, it was rape. Both people must be conscious and willing participants.
I thought “no,” but didn’t say it.
It depends on the circumstances. If you didn’t say “no” because you were legitimately scared for your life or safety, it may be rape. Sometimes it isn’t safe to resist physically or verbally; for example, when someone has a knife or gun to your head, or threatens you or your family if you say anything.