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Types of Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault

Unwanted, coerced and/or forced sexual penetration and/or touch is defined in Minnesota Statute by varying degrees of Criminal Sexual Conduct (CSC). CSC in the first through fourth degrees are felonies in Minnesota; fifth degree CSC is a gross misdemeanor. Penetration may be of the victim or forcing the victim to penetrate the actor; penetration can be accomplished with either a body part or other object. Similarly, contact can be sexual contact with the victim or forcing a victim to touch the actor.

The terms sexual assault and sexual violence are often used interchangeably, however, both terms are used to describe a wide variety of abuses. Rape is a term that is often used to describe forced penetration but forced touch is also a serious crime in Minnesota.

Date/Acquaintance Rape

Unwanted, coerced and/or forced sexual penetration that occurs between people who are known to each other. This relationship may be a dating relationship, a blind date or “hook up.” They may know one another well or only briefly. The issue is not identifying who the perpetrator is; but rather, identifying how force or coercion is manifested.

Intimate Partner Sexual Violence (IPSV)

When rape or sexual assault occurs between two people who have or have had a consensual sexual relationship it is understood as Intimate Partner Sexual Violence. Sometimes this is referred to as “marital rape.” Intimate partner sexual violence is often a part of relationships in which other types of violence or battering are occurring. IPSV can occur in dating relationships, marriages or long term gay or lesbian relationships, and is certainly unlawful regardless of previous sexual contact.

Alcohol or Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault

When alcohol or other drugs are used to subdue the victim in order to perpetrate a sexual attack. Many types of drugs have been used for this purpose. Some of the more common are Rohypnol, GHB and Ketamine. However, it must be pointed out that, although these drugs are used for sexual violence, alcohol remains the most common substance used to subdue victims.

Child Sexual Abuse

Overt physical or emotional aggression is not always a part of child sexual abuse. By definition, any sexual contact with a child is illegal. Offenders who target children use a variety of strategies to engage a child, including: force, trickery, bribery, and blackmail. Child sexual abuse can be perpetrated by another child, a young person, or an adult. Child sexual abuse can include;

Incest: Sexual abuse that is committed by one family member against another. Also called familial sexual abuse, incest can be committed by a parent, sibling, other family member, or an unrelated person living with, or treated as part of the family.


Sexually graphic material that combines sex with violence, mistreatment, humiliation, or abuse. This includes the making of pornography when it involves violence, bribery and coercion, even if none is depicted. There is not agreement among those who are working to end sexual violence that pornography is automatically and by nature abusive. Expressions of sexuality in our culture are often targeted, misunderstood, and demonized. Child pornography is any sexually graphic material or any material produced for the purpose of sexual arousal that depicts children, and is always unlawful.

Commercial Sexual Exploitation

Paying someone else for sexual activities, or for sexually graphic materials or behaviors. Some forms of commercial sexual exploitation include: stripping, prostitution, nude bars, live sex shows, peep shows, and trafficking of people.

Professional Sexual Exploitation

Inappropriate use of sexual actions and words by professionals and volunteers within a helping context. Any sexual interaction between helping professionals and clients is a sexual violation (even if the victim sees it as consensual). Helping professionals are bound ethically and/or legally to abstain from sexual interaction with clients, patients, and others they serve. Helping professions can include counseling, psychology, social work, therapy, health care, clergy, law, victim advocacy, education, and public health.

Female Genital Mutilation

Female genital mutilation (FGM) is the term used to refer to the removal of part, or all, of the female genitalia. The most severe form is infibulation. The procedure consists of clitoridectomy (where all, or part of, the clitoris is removed), excision (removal of all, or part of, the labia minora), and cutting of the labia majora to create raw surfaces, which are then stitched or held together in order to form a cover over the vagina when they heal. A small hole is left to allow urine and menstrual blood to escape. The vast majority (85%) of genital mutilations performed in Africa consist of clitoridectomy or excision. The least radical procedure consists of the removal of the clitoral hood. While this may be an accepted practice in some cultures, it is illegal in the State of Minnesota.

Systematic Sexual Abuse

This is an organized form of sexual abuse, frequently involving numerous perpetrators and victims, and used to control, condition, or “initiate” victims. This type of ritualized abuse may be repeated frequently and be perpetrated under the guise of a spiritual expression or initiation into a gang or other secret or selective group.

Sexual Harassment

Unwanted verbal sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and other visual, verbal, or physical conduct of a sexual nature. Sexual harassment can occur in the workplace, school and other settings (such as public transportation, shopping malls, community events, social gatherings, places of worship, health care facilities), and can create an intimidating or hostile environment for the victim. The perception of the victim, not the intent of the harasser, determines whether particular words or actions are harassing.

The above information is provided by the Minnesota Coalition Against Sexual Assault (mncasa.org)

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