Sexual Assault: Definitions

Spartans for Safety - Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct

Sexual assault is any sexual act against a person's will and/or without their complete knowledge and consent. While the majority of rapes are committed by males against females as acts of vaginal penetration, the term "sexual assault" includes other acts of sexual violation, such as unwanted touching and/or molestation, assaults perpetrated against males, acts committed with foreign objects, forced oral copulation, forced sodomy.

It doesn't matter if the victim was intoxicated at the time of the assault--it is still a crime! Also, it doesn't matter what you were wearing or what type of sexual behavior you have had in the past. In fact, it is illegal in the state of California to force your spouse or domestic partner to engage in sexual activity. It doesn't even matter what sexual acts you consented to prior to the assault--against your will is against the law.

It must be very clear that sexual assaults and sexual abuse are acts of violence and/or control occurring within a sexual arena or where sex is used as a weapon.

It is important to recognize that sexual assault is NEVER THE VICTIM'S FAULT!


Consent is defined to as a positive cooperation in act or attitude pursuant to an exercise of free will. The person must act freely and voluntarily and have knowledge of the nature of the act or transaction involved. A current or previous dating or marital relationship shall not be sufficient to constitute consent where consent is at issue in a prosecution. (State of California Penal Code 261.6)

Click here to find out more about Consent

Force Oral Copulation

Oral copulation is the act of copulating the mouth of one person with the sexual organ or anus of another person.  (State of California Penal Code 288a) Penetration is not required.   Proof of ejaculation is not required.

Fear or force

Is where there is act of sexual assault or misconduct with another person, and the perpetrator made the other person do it by way of any of the following means:

  • force
  • violence
  • duress
  • menace
  • fear of immediate and bodily injury to someone
  • threatening to retaliate in the future against the victim or any other person


Where a perpetrator uses enough physical force to overcome the other person's will.


Duress means a direct or implied threat of force, violence, danger, hardship, or retribution that causes a reasonable person to do or submit to something that they would not otherwise do or submit to.


Menace means a threat, statement, or act showing an intent to injure someone.