What are Rape and Sexual Assault?


Sexual assault is a general term that includes any forced or unwanted sexual activity, including rape, incest, sexual abuse, and molestation. Sexual assault includes any forced or unwanted touching of an intimate part of the body, such as breasts, buttocks, or genitals.

Rape, a specific type of sexual assault, involves any forced, manipulated, or coerced penetration of the vagina, anus, or mouth, by a penis or other object. Sexual assault/rape is not a crime of passion but a crime of violence, using sex as a weapon to overpower and to degrade the victim. A rapist can be a stranger or someone the victim knows including a spouse, date, or family member.

Sexual violence happens in all communities. In Bay County alone, each year there were more than 200 reports of sexual assault or abuse. And, it is important to remember that only 20% of all sexual assaults are reported to law enforcement. Bay and Arenac Counties have benefited from the services offered by the Sexual Assault Program in many ways over the years, and we diligently seek new ways to communicate with survivors of sexual violence, educate the children in our community, and offer free and confidential services.

Sexual abuse can happen to anyone, regardless of age, income, status, nationality or geographical location. It can happen within a marriage, within a family, within a circle of friends, at work or in an institution. It can happen whether you are gay or straight.


Perpetrators of sexual assaults or sexual abuse are usually known to the victim, although rape or assault by a total stranger does happen sometimes.

Facts and Statistics about Rape and Sexual Assault

  • According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, Criminal Victimization, 2010, National Crime Victimization Survey:
  • In 2010 there were 188,380 reports of rape and/or sexual assault in the United States. 
  • More than half of rape and sexual assault crimes take place between 6pm and 6am.
  • Females are more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault (182,000) than males (40,000).
  • Most victims of rape or sexual assault are females younger than 24 years of age.
  • Most rapes committed against women are committed by an intimate partner (spouse, boyfriend/girlfriend) or someone else they know (friend, family member, acquaintance).

LINKS for more information on Sexual Assault:

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

RAINN: Rape Abuse Incest National Network

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