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Sexual assault refers to a pattern of behavior that includes rape, but also any unwanted physical contact of a sexual nature to exert control over the victim. Anything from non-consensual kissing and fondling to forced oral, anal or vaginal sex, or penetration with an object, is an act of sexual assault. The term "sexual violence" is sometimes used to refer to these behaviors, but also to harassment, threats of rape, and other similar behaviors.


Sexual assault can happen between couples, in a family, between friends, or strangers. Like domestic violence, sexual assault manifests itself at all cultural and socio-economic levels regardless of gender, religion, sexual orientation, immigration status, age, physical ability, level of education, etc.


For help and support in sexual assault situations , call Mujeres in Action at 509-869-0876 . Also, you can call the sexual assault hotline of Lutheran Community Services Northwest at 509-624-7273, available 24 hours. 


Myths and realities

Exploring your options



Sexual Assault or Agression

The term sexual assault refers to physical contact or behavior of a sexual nature that occurs without the explicit consent of the person. This can include sexual acts using force or threats - or against someone who is unable to legally consent. For example, the person may be too young, unconscious, or incapacitated from any other cause (drugs or alcohol, as well as severe disabilities).

Some forms of sexual assault include:

  • Attempted rape.

  • Unwanted sexual touching or fondling.

  • Forcing the victim to perform sexual acts such as: oral sex or penetration into the body of the aggressor.

  • Penetration of the victim's body, which is also known as rape.


Rape is a form of sexual assault, but not all sexual assaults are considered rape. The term rape is often used as a legal definition that specifically includes sexual penetration without the consent of the person.

In generic crime reports, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) defines rape as: “Penetration, no matter how light, of the vagina or anus with any part of the body or object, or oral penetration by the sexual organ of another person, without the consent of the victim. "



Some people use the term "sexual harassment" to refer to sexual abuse or sexual assault, but specifically in the school or work environment. This can include crude sexual comments or jokes, sexual advances, unwanted sexual acts, indecent exposure, and other behaviors. It can happen at school or work and involve a teacher, supervisor or colleague from work or classes, etc. Because it happens in the context of school or work, this type of behavior is a form of sex discrimination, covered by federal civil rights.


to sex

Consent is an agreement between the participants to have sex. Consent doesn't have to be verbal, but verbally agreeing to different sexual activities can help both you and your partner respect each other's boundaries.

Consent must be:

  1. Freely given: That is to say, the person does not feel forced to participate in sexual activity, but is completely free to refuse without fear.

  2. Reversible: At any time, the person has the right to withdraw their consent. It is important to communicate this with your partner when you no longer feel comfortable.

  3. Informed: You and your partner should know the what and how of sexual activity. Consent must be informed and specific.

Mitos y realidades

Myths and realities

1. Victims provoke sexual assault when they dress provocatively.

Violence and sexual assault are acts of violence committed to establish power and control over the victim. No matter how the victim was dressed, that will never justify forcing someone into a sexual act.

2. If a person goes to someone's bedroom, house, or bar, they assume the risk of sexual assault.

Even if a person has gone into someone's room and even consented to sexual activity, that does not mean that they consented to all sexual activities. This "take the risk" attitude simply perpetuates the tendency to blame the victims. The only person responsible for an assault is the person who commits the sexual assault.

3. Most rapes are committed by a stranger.

Most rapes and sexual assaults are committed by an acquaintance, friend, family member or partner of the victim.

4. It is rape only if the victim fights or physically resists.

There are many factors that a victim does not fight for. Sometimes fighting presents a higher level of danger. Other times, fear simply paralyzes the victim.

5. Women falsely accuse men of rape.

For the most part, all reports of rape are true. According to the FBI, the false report rate for rape or sexual assault is equal to that for other felonies.

Exploring your options


Medical help

As a victim, you have the right to visit an emergency facility at any Spokane hospital for medical care. This includes a free forensic medical exam where a doctor or nurse will collect evidence that may be useful in case you decide to report this crime to the police. These exams are usually carried out within 3-5 days of the sexual assault, but there are exceptions. In addition, you have the right to have a support person, be it a family member or friend, or one of our advocates during the examination. Also, you can receive treatments for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as well as emergency contraception to prevent pregnancy, if you are a woman. Even if you don't have health insurance, the hospital has a duty to provide these services if you have been the victim of a sexual assault. In addition, as a victim of a crime, you may benefit from the Crime Victims Compensation Program, which may cover medical expenses related to the assault. For more information about this program, click here.

To learn more about your medical options and / or if you want one of our victim advocates to join you , call us at 509-869-0876 .

Hospitals in Spokane and Spokane Valley

Providence Holy Family 

5633 N Lidgerwood St,

Spokane, WA 99208

(509) 482-2460

Multicare Deaconess North

8202 N Division St,

Spokane, WA 99208

(509) 473-3333

Providence Sacred Heart

101 W 8th Ave,

Spokane, WA 99204

(509) 474-3344

Multicare Valley

12606 E Mission Ave,

Spokane Valley, WA 992016

(509) 924-6650

Multicare Deaconess

800 W 5th Ave,

Spokane, WA 99204

(509) 473-5800

Police report

You have the option of reporting what happened to the police. This is the only way to hold someone accountable in the criminal justice system. If you plan to report, it is best to do so as soon as possible. That way, the police have a better chance of gathering information and evidence. During the reporting process, you have the right to ask questions and you can bring someone with you, be it a friend, family member, or one of our victim advocates.

If you are under the age of 18, there are certain people who may need to tell the police if they think you were sexually assaulted. This includes teachers, coaches, doctors, nurses, and others. If a report is made, a police officer can contact you, but you can choose whether you want to participate in an investigation. An investigation can be conducted without your participation, but it usually does not happen this way. If you want to speak to someone without a report being filed , you can call us at 509-869-0876 without telling us your name or how old you are.

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