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Sexual Assault

  • By: Stacey Hust & Kathleen Rodgers
  • In: Encyclopedia of Health Communication
  • Edited by: Teresa L. Thompson
  • Subject:Public Health Education & Health Promotion, Health Psychology, Health Communication

Sexual assault occurs when one or more individuals force or coerce another person to participate in any type of sexual activity, such as touching, kissing, or sexual intercourse. In a sexual assault, sexual consent is not sought or a refusal to participate is not adhered to. Legally a clear, verbal “yes” is the clearest form of sexual consent and a clear, verbal “no” is the clearest rejection of such activity. Research has shown that individuals negotiate sexual consent through both verbal and nonverbal cues. An individual who is incapacitated cannot legally consent to sexual activity in much of the United States; this includes individuals who are asleep, unconscious, or intoxicated.

Although both men and women commit sexual assault, men are more often the perpetrators, and women ...

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