Sexual assault is a violent crime—a hostile attack—an attempt to hurt and humiliate. It is NOT the result of “uncontrolled passions.” Sexual assault can happen to anyone. It can occur anywhere and at any time, in public or in your own home, day or night.
Perpetrators are not necessarily strangers. In fact, in over one-third of reported cases, the perpetrator is an acquaintance, neighbor, friend or relative of the victim. Sexual assault is one of the most underreported crimes. Most perpetrators will keep on offending until they are caught, so it is important to report any kind of sexual assault to law enforcement.
Consent is an agreement between participants to engage in sexual activity. Consent should be clearly and freely communicated. A verbal and affirmative expression of consent can help both you and your partner to understand and respect each other’s boundaries.
Consent cannot be given by individuals who are underage, intoxicated or incapacitated by drugs or alcohol, or asleep or unconscious. If someone agrees to an activity under pressure of intimidation or threat, that isn’t considered consent because it was not given freely. Unequal power dynamics, such as engaging in sexual activity with an employee or student, also mean that consent cannot be freely given.
Sexual assault can occur in any situation and is never your fault regardless of the circumstances. However, by taking such steps as traveling accompanied and avoiding alcohol and drugs, you can substantially reduce your risks for being victimized. Many assualts occur in or near the victim’s home.
One of the best ways to prevent sexual assault is to practice good home security:
Don’t walk into danger. Be alert to your surroundings and the people around you—especially if you are alone or it is dark. Know where help may be if you should need it.
Car safety. Keep yourself safe while traveling.
For more information about crime prevention, contact our District Offices staff:
Sergeant Julian Cosgriff
South District Office
677 W. Tennyson Road
Hayward, CA 94544