What is Sexual Assault?

questionmarkWhat is Sexual Assault?

There are different kinds of sexual assault. A party can be charged with sexual assault if that person causes the victim to submit to sexual intrusion or penetration against his or her will. This may include use of force, threats or coercion. Generally speaking, sexual penetration or intrusion can include sexual intercourse (penile-genital intercourse), oral-genital contact, oral-anal contact, anal intercourse and/or any intrusion into the genital or anal opening of another person’s body. Additionally, a party can be charged with sexual assault if that person inflicts sexual intrusion or penetration on a victim when that person knows that the victim is incapable of consenting to any sexual activity. A person may be unable to consent due to intoxication or ingestion of drugs, whether the drugs were voluntarily ingested or ingested without the victim’s knowledge. Alternatively, a person may be unable to consent if he or she is passed out, blacked out or sleeping when the unwanted sexual contact occurs.

A party can be charged with unlawful sexual contact if that person knowingly touches another person’s intimate parts, or forces that person to touch the perpetrator’s intimate parts without that person’s consent. A party can also be charged with unlawful sexual contact if the victim is unable to consent due to intoxication or ingestion of drugs (voluntarily or involuntarily), or if the victim is passed out, blacked out or sleeping. Additionally, a person can be charged with unlawful sexual contact if that person knowingly observes or takes a photograph of another person’s intimate parts without that person’s consent, in a situation where the victim has a reasonable expectation of privacy. A party can be charged with sexual assault or unlawful sexual contact if he or she engages in the treatment or examination of another person for reasons other than a legitimate medical purpose.

Indecent exposure occurs when a party knowingly exposes his or her genitals to the view of another under circumstances likely to cause alarm to that person.

It is always a crime for a person to engage in any kind of sexual activity with a child under the age of fifteen years old if that person is at least four years older than the child. Additionally, it is a crime for a person to engage in any kind of sexual activity with a child who is fifteen, sixteen or seventeen years old if that person is at least ten years older than the child. Sexual activity includes the sexual acts described above.

Many victims are in denial or unaware that what happened to them is considered sexual assault by legal definition. Others can’t recall all of the details of the assault. All of these feelings are completely normal. If something happened to you that does not feel right, you can always call the police or a confidential rape crisis hotline volunteer to talk about the details of your experience and to explore your options. You may also want to look at the sexual assault mythspage on this website.

Denver Police Department:

Emergency: 911

Non Emergency: 720-913-2000

Victim Assistance Unit: 720-913-6035

Rape Assistance and Awareness Program 24/7 Hotline (confidential and anonymous):

English: 303-322-7273

Spanish: 303-329-0031

TTY: 303-329-0023 (9am-5pm, Mon-Fri)