Sexual assault is any sexual touching or activity that occurs without consent. Sexual assault can include touching someone's genitals or breasts, forced kissing, pinning or restraining, or rape. The key factors are bodily involvement and an absence of consent.
Rape is a kind of sexual assault that involves penetration. Rape happens when someone penetrates someone else’s mouth, vagina, or anus with a part of their own body (penis, fingers) or another object.
Coercion and Force
Sexual assault and rape are sometimes accomplished by physical force, but most often this is not the case, especially between people who know each other. On college campuses, most victim-survivors of sexual assault know the person who assaulted them. Sexual assault is most often accomplished through coercion, manipulation, incapacitation, and active disregard.
Sexual assault and rape can happen to anyone, regardless of age, gender identity, race, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, or other social identity. A romantic partner, a friend, a fellow student, a family member, someone in authority, or a stranger can perpetrate these acts. Our cultural stereotype of rape is a random attack by a stranger, but that is actually quite rare. Non-stranger assault is the norm.