What is Sexual Assault?

According to, “sexual assault is any type of sexual activity, including rape, that you do not agree to. Also called sexual violence or abuse, sexual assault is never your fault.”

Sexual assault can include:

  • Any type of sexual contact with someone who cannot consent, such as someone who is underage, has an intellectual disability, or is passed out
  • Rape
  • Attempted rape
  • Sexual coercion
  • Sexual contact with a child
  • Incest (sexual contact between family members)
  • Fondling or unwanted touching above or under clothes

Sexual assault can also be verbal or visual. It is anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples can include:

  • Voyeurism, or peeping (when someone watches private sexual acts without consent)
  • Exhibitionism (when someone exposes himself or herself in public)
  • Sexual harassment or threats
  • Forcing someone to pose for sexual pictures


For more information on sexual assault and organizations that can help you if you have been assaulted, please visit the following websites:

YWCA, Women’s Resource Center
YWCA St. Louis Regional Sexual Assault Center assists more than 1,000 victims annually. Its sexual assault response team works collaboratively with St. Louis City and County police officers, area hospitals, the prosecuting attorney’s office and as well as with other victim service agencies. Crisis services are provided at no cost to victims.

Safe Connections
Safe Connections is a local organization that works to “prevent and end domestic and sexual violence while helping survivors reclaim their lives.” Contact their crisis helpline 24/7 at 314-531-2003 for help and support in leaving a violent relationship.

Bridgeway Behavioral Health
The goal of the Sexual Assault Center is to help victims become survivors. We provide individual and group counseling by licensed staff, free of charge to women and men, age 14+, who have experienced sexual assault and /or have a history of childhood sexual abuse.

ALIVE is a St. Louis organization that provides “counseling, emergency sanctuary, and other critical services to adults and children impacted by domestic abuse, as well as to increase awareness in orer to create a supportive community.”  Contact their crisis helpline 24/7 at:

  • St. Louis: 314-993-2777
  • Franklin County: 636-583-5700 or 800-941-9144

RAINN (Rape, Abuse, & Incest National Network)
RAINN (Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network) is the nation’s largest anti-sexual violence organization. RAINN created and operates the National Sexual Assault Hotline (800.656.HOPE and in partnership with more than 1,100 local sexual assault service providers across the country and operates the DoD Safe Helpline for the Department of Defense. In 2015, the Online Hotline expanded to offer services in Spanish at RAINN also carries out programs to prevent sexual violence, help victims and ensure that rapists are brought to justice.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger, call 911.

If you are in a situation where calling is not an option, text a family member or friend and have them call 911 for you. 

Library Resources

Print Books
Both libraries have multiple books on the subject of domestic violence. These books can be found around call number HV 6626. The librarians understand that you may want privacy when looking for these books or checking them out. Please feel free to take these books home without checking them out. However, we ask that you please bring them back when you are finished using them.

Carpenter, Erin. Life, Reinvented: A Guide to Healing from Sexual Trauma for Survivors and Loved Ones. Denver, Colorado: Quantum Publishing Group, 2013. Print.

  • Call number: HV6561 .C77 2014
  • Location: Culinary, Vet

Reddington, Frances P. Sexual Assault: The Victims, the Perpetrators, and the Criminal Justice System. Durham, North Carolina: Carolina Academic Press, 2009. Print.

  • Call number: HV6561 .S475 2009
  • Location: Culinary

Schiraldi, Glenn R. The Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder Sourcebook. New York, NY: McGraw-Hill, 2009. Print.

  • Call number: RC552 .P67 S326 2009
  • Location: Culinary

Domitrz, Michael J. May I Kiss You? A Candid Look at Dating, Communication, Respect, & Sexual Assault Awareness. Greenfield, WI: Awareness Publications, 2003. Print

  • Call number: HV6558 .D65 2003
  • Location: Culinary, Vet

You can also access multiple eBooks on domestic violence. Click here to view a search of the eBooks we offer on the subject.

Films on Demand has many powerful and moving videos on domestic violence. See the list below for some of the ones available.

Sexual Violence Against Women (5:32)—1998
Why do men sexually victimize women? Reports of rape, stalking, and sexual harassment are on the rise. Date rape is more than miscommunication—it is an act of violence, power, and control. Women must be aware of safety guidelines and risk. This segment also looks at the cultural factors that socialize men.

Sexual Assault Prevention (02:20)—1999
Therese Doud discusses the first part of prevention the statistics of sexual assault. Doud and Alyssa discuss recognizing and acknowledging violence.

Sexual Assault: Identification and Education (02:51)—1999
Jim Tuman discusses taking a proactive approach to combating violence. Therese Doud describes a perpetrator profile. Alyssa discusses her early definition of rape and her relationship with her boyfriend.

Thurman’s Law (03:18)—2013
Police often blamed sexual assault victims. Feminists began redefining the nature of domestic violence. New laws made it easier to prosecute rapists.

Date Rape: A Violation of Trust (28:31)—2008
To the average student, the definitions of date rape and sexual assault are notoriously unclear. Use this program to eliminate the confusion so young adults understand exactly what these things are—and the attitudes and biases that typically accompany them—before anyone gets hurt. The video firmly reinforces the concepts that rape has its roots in hate crime; date rape is just as wrong as rape by a stranger; a victim is never “asking for it,” no matter how the person dresses; and no one ever “deserves it.” The video also underscores the rules of the dating game: a date is not an invitation for sex; No means No; and the inability to give consent doesn’t mean Yes. Interviews with rape survivors and mental health professionals shed additional light on the trauma caused by rape, the process of post-rape emotional recovery, and the importance of post-rape support by family and friends. Date rape drugs are given special attention, and tips on safer dating are provided.