Sexual assault is any sexual contact made without consent. Consent must be freely given with overt words or actions that clearly communicate an individual’s desire to engage in sexual activities. Consent is a clear yes, not the absence of a no. Consent cannot legally be obtained if an individual is incapacitated due to alcohol or other drugs, is unconscious or asleep, or has limited mental capacity. Examples of sexual assault include unwanted touching, kissing, fondling, or penetration of the mouth, vagina, or anus with a finger, penis or object.
Though sexual assault can be perpetrated by a stranger, it is more commonly committed by someone the victim knows, such as a friend, boyfriend, girlfriend, partner, or acquaintance.
Although some sexual assaults are facilitated by drugs, alcohol is the most popular “date rape drug” used by perpetrators.
Sexual assault is always the fault of the perpetrator and not the fault of the victim! Whether or not the victim has been drinking is irrelevant. The victim’s previous sexual activities, behaviors, actions, and/or dress is irrelevant. No one deserves to be the victim of sexual assault.
If you have been victimized, you are not alone. There are resources available to help you.
What to do after a sexual assault
What to do if you've been drugged
Ways out of a dangerous situation
Strategies for safety
For more detailed information and resources on sexual assault, please visit the End Violence on Campus (EVOC) website.
Responsible Action Guidelines
Don't let underage drinking keep you from seeking help or helping a friend.
UW-Madison has adopted the Responsible Action Guidelines, which protect victims and witnesses of sexual assault and/or violent crime from disciplinary action, even if they are under the influence of alcohol and less than 21 years of age.