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What is Sexual Assault

Teal Ribbon for Sexual Assault Awareness

Sexual assault (often known as rape) is forcing or coercing an individual to engage in any non-consensual sexual contact or sexual penetration. In Michigan, the law regarding sexual assault is called the Criminal Sexual Conduct Act. It is gender neutral and includes marital, stranger, date, acquaintance, and child sexual assault.

There are four degrees of criminal sexual conduct. First and third degrees involve forced or coerced penetration. This can involve vaginal, anal or oral intercourse, or putting a finger or object in another person's genital or anal opening.

The second and fourth degrees involve forced or coerced sexual contact. This includes touching the groin, genital area, inner thighs, buttocks, breasts or the clothing covering these parts.

How serious the crime is considered by the prosecuter depends on a number of factors such as: more than one assailant, a weapon, a physical injury other than sexual assault, extortion or the element of surprise. The charges of criminal sexual assault are viewed as more serious if the victim is under 13 years of age, from 13-15 years of the age and the assailant is a member of the family or in a position of authority over the victim, such as a teacher, counselor, clergy or doctor.

Criminal sexual conduct does not require a witness other than the victim. It is also a crime if the assailant is your dating partner or spouse.

For more information about the role sexual assault plays in dating violence, click on the following fact sheets: