Sexual Assault


What is sexual violence?

Sexual violence is any act (verbal and/or physical) which breaks a person’s trust and/or safety and is sexual in nature.  The term “sexual violence” includes: rape, incest, child sexual assault, date and acquaintance rape, marital or partner rape, sexual contact, sexual harassment, exposure, and voyeurism.

What is sexual assault?

Under Wisconsin Law, Sexual Assault is defined as any sexual contact or sexual intercourse with another person without consent.   


Sexual assault can take the form of:

  • Sexual Harassment

  • Exposing/flashing

  • Forcing a person to pose for sexual pictures

  • Fondling

  • Unwanted sexual touching

  • Rape or attempted rape

More often, however, sexual assault involves psychological coercion and taking advantage of an individual who is under duress or incapacitated and, therefore, incapable of making a decision on his/her own (including under the influence of alcohol, drugs and/or prescription medications).

Sexual assault is a crime motivated by a need to control, humiliate, and harm.  Perpetrators use sexual assault as a weapon to hurt and dominate others. Rape is a form of sexual assault. Although stranger rape does occur, rapes are often committed by people victims know (romantic partners, acquaintances, friends).  

Rape or sexual assault are never the victim’s fault — no matter where or how it happens.

Common Reactions to Sexual Assault Include:

  • Shock

  • Numbness

  • Loss of control

  • Disorientation

  • Helplessness

  • Sense of vulnerability

  • Fear

  • Self-blame/guilt for "allowing" the crime to happen

  • Feeling that these reactions are a sign of weakness

Click here for information on our Sexual Assault Victim Services

For help, please call the Family Center at (715) 421-1511 or call the National Sexual Assault Hotline | 1-800-656-HOPE(4673).