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Sexual Assault and Relationship Violence

What is sexual assault?

According to Missouri law, sexual assault includes any form of non-consensual sexual contact, which involve “the genitals of one person and the hand, mouth, tongue or anus of another person or a sexual act involving penetration, however slight, of the penis, female genitalia, or the anus by a finger, instrument or object done for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person or the purpose of terrorizing the victim”  

The UMSL definition of sexual assault reflects the Missouri law. Additional definitions which include sex discrimination, sexual harassment, and stalking can be found on this page.

How prevalent is sexual violence on college campuses?

Sexual Assault and consent has become a major concern on campuses due to the reports in the media.  Many wonder if there really is a problem on college campuses. 

Did you know

  • 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men are sexually assaulted in college.
  • 90% of survivors knew their attacker.
  • 1/3 of sexual assault survivors are first-year students.
  • Only 12% of sexual assaults are reported to police.
  • 40% of survivors fear reprisal by their attacker.
  • Nearly 1/3 of college students report having physically assaulted a dating partner in the previous 12 months.
  • 18-24 year-olds have the highest rate of stalking victimization.
  • Gay and bisexual men are over 10 times more likely to experience sexual assault than heterosexual men.
  • 46% of bisexual women have been sexually assaulted as compared to 13% of lesbian women and 17% of heterosexual women.
  • 25% of transgender people have been assaulted after the age of 13.
  • Approximately 34% of multiracial women, 27% of Alaska Native/American women, 22% of black women and 14/6% of Hispanic women are survivors of sexual violence.
  • 7% of Asian American women have reportedly experienced rape; however the number is skewed low due to the fact that Asian American women are the group least likely to report rape.
  • Individuals who identify as disabled are three times more likely to experience sexual violence.

Only 2-8% of rapes are false reports, a rate that does not exceed the false reporting rates of other crimes.

What is consent?

Consent is an active, enthusiastic, ongoing agreement to engage in a sexual act or sexual contact.  In order for someone to give consent to sex, they must be able to fully and coherently agree to participate in the sexual act.  A verbal no, regardless of how indecisive or insincere it sounds, constitutes as a lack of consent.  Past consent to engage in sex does not imply that there is future, ongoing consent.  An intimate, committed relationship does not imply consent.  Lack of verbal or physical resistance, or submission by the unwilling participant, does not equal consent.  Any time the use of force, threats, or coercion are used consent cannot be given.  If fear is in the room, consent is not.

The following are examples of when consent CANNOT be given:

  • An individual is asleep, unconscious, or slipping in and out of consciousness
  • An individual is incapacitated by drugs or alcohol (signs may or may not include, but are not limited to: difficulty walking, inability to speak in a coherent manner, vomiting, etc)
  • The individual is under the age of legal consent (legal age of consent is 17 in Missouri and Illinois)