What Is Sexual Assault?

Sexual assault is an umbrella term used to describe several types of non-consensual contact and behavior.

A classmate, friend, partner, stranger, co-worker, family member or anyone we're intimate with can perpetrate sexual assault. It can involve the use of drugs and alcohol, and can happen anywhere, such as in class, residence halls, home, and on and off campus. Sexual assault can happen in any community regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, age and/or ability.

Sexual assault is ANY sexual contact without consent

At UCR, sexual assault is categorized into the following descriptions:

  • Sexual Assault - Penetration:Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina, anus or mouth by a penis; or the vagina or anus by any body part or object. This may commonly refer to experiences of rape, sodomy or attempted sexual assault.
  • Sexual Assault - Contact: Touching an intimate body part (genitalia, anus, groin, breast, or buttocks; unclothed or clothed). This may also be referred to as sexual battery, groping or fondling.

Inappropriate conduct may include:

  • Physical force
  • Violence
  • Threats
  • Intimidation
  • Ignoring the objections of the other person
  • Causing the other person’s intoxication/incapacitation with drugs and/or alcohol
  • Taking advantage of the other person’s incapacitation, including voluntary intoxication

Alcohol- and Drug-Facilitated Sexual Assault

Certain drugs, such as Rohypnol and GHB, have been called "date rape drugs" because they can be used as weapons in sexual assault incidents.

  • The drugs are usually slipped into a person's drink without that person's knowledge or consent.
  • When the drugs dissolve in the drink, they're colorless, odorless and sometimes tasteless — you can't tell that you're being drugged.
  • Other substances (alcohol, prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, illegal drugs, recreational drugs and "club drugs") can be used for the same purpose.

"Some individuals use these drugs and alcohol to overpower and incapacitate their victims, and to facilitate a sexual assault. These crimes are called "drug-facilitated sexual assaults."

  • The drugs or alcohol incapacitate you. They can make you feel drowsy, confused, physically weak and/or unconscious.
  • Some of the drugs and alcohol can also have other serious side effects, such as a drop in blood pressure, breathing problems or coma; they can even cause death. They may also affect your memory.
  • When the drugs or alcohol wear off, you may not be able to recall what happened to you, who did it or if anyone watched.

CARE and the UCR community firmly believe that no one is ever at fault or responsible for experiencing sexual violence. We recognize that only those who commit these crimes are responsible for such conduct. We're here to support you.

Reference: Santa Monica-UCLA Medical Center Rape Treatment Center, Drug Facilitated Sexual Assault, 2016 

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual violence, contact a CARE advocate. CARE advocates are available Monday–Friday, 8:30am–4:30pm.

Phone: (951) 827-6225 

MORE options and support services.