What is Rape and Sexual Assault?

Sexual Assault 
A person who subjects another person to sexual penetration, or who forces another person to make a sexual penetration on himself or another, or on a beast, against the will of the victim or under conditions in which the perpetrator knows or should know that the victim is mentally or physically incapable of resisting or understanding the nature of his conduct, is guilty of sexual assault. (NRS 200.364)
It is important to note that all definitions are gender neutral. Sexual Assault can be emotionally devastating to victims of either sex. However, as the victims are more often females, the information presented in this booklet primarily addresses female survivors and their loved ones.

Sexual Assault is any unwanted, forced, or coerced sexual act.  This includes:
  • Acquaintance Rape 
  • Date Rape 
  • Stranger Rape 
  • Statutory Sexual Seduction 
  • Child Molestation or Sexual Abuse
Acquaintance Rape
Acquaintance Rape is using physical force, emotional bargaining, blackmail, or psychological mind games to force sexual intercourse.  More than 80% of rape victims know their attacker.  Those closest to you can easily take advantage of and assault you.  This can be a friend, neighbor, date, lover, ex-lover, coworker, or even a family member.  This type of rape has a wide range for prior relationships, from barely knowing one another (a peer you rarely speak with) to a neighbor or person your family has known for a long time.  If it is against your will, it is against the law.
Return to Top of Page

Date Rape
Date rape occurs between two people that know each other and have established some form of relationship.  Date rape is the use of force, verbal or physical, to attain sexual gratification from another person who has expressed unwillingness. Frequently  date rapes occur as the result of sexual behaviors and misunderstood communication.  Males are taught to "score" with women and be sexually aggressive.  They believe that "no" means "yes" or "maybe" and a little persuasion is acceptable.  Any sexual intercourse that occurs after a woman has said no with words or behavior is rape!  Date Rape does not specifically imply that the people involved are in a committed relationship nor does it exclude married persons.
Stranger Rape
Stranger Rape is committed by a complete stranger that is entirely unknown to the victim.
Statutory Sexual Seduction
Statutory Sexual Seduction is defined as a person who is over the age of 18 having a sexual relationship with a person who is under the age of consent.  In Nevada, the age of consent is 16 years old.  The underage person appearing to be, or representing themselves to be a consenting adult, does not make Statutory Sexual Seduction invalid.  By Nevada's laws, statutory sexual seduction is a gross misdemeanor.  If the person committing the offense is over the age of 21, the crime is a felony.  Parents of minor victims have the right to press charges against the person committing the crime, even if the victim is unwilling to cooperate. 
Child Molestation or Sexual Abuse
Every child is vulnerable to sexual abuse.  Today's parents must face the possibility that someone may hurt or take advantage of their child.  Research indicates that as many as one out of every four children will be the victim of sexual abuse.  Very young children, as well as older teenagers can be victimized.  Children can be at risk of victimization from family members and relatives, family friends, and caretakers.
Sexual abuse of children can be physical, verbal or emotional and includes:
  • Sexual touching and fondling 
  • Exposing children to sexual activity or pornography 
  • Using children to pose, undress, or perform in a sexual fashion on film or in person 
  • Rape or attempted rape
The use of physical force is rarely necessary to engage a child in sexual activity because of children's trusting and dependency.  Children naturally want to please others and gain love and approval.  Children are taught not to question authority and they believe that adults are always right.  Perpetrators of child sexual abuse know this and take advantage of these vulnerabilities in children.  Sexual abuse is an abuse of power over a child and a violation of a child's right to normal, healthy, trusting relationships.