Sexual assault is a form of sexual misconduct ranging from forcible rape to nonphysical forms of pressure that compel individuals to engage in sexual activity against their will. In Iowa, the terms “rape” and “sexual assault” fall under the legal definition of “sexual abuse,” which includes any sex act done by force or against the will of another.
Sexual coercion broadens the scope to include strategies used to pressure someone into having sex that may not fall under a legal definition, including emotional manipulation, social status pressure, constant pressure after an initial refusal, use of alcohol to lower inhibitions, and other types of pressure.
Contrary to widespread stranger-rape myths, in the vast majority of cases of sexual assault — between 80 and 90 percent — the victim and assailant know each other. In fact, the more intimate the relationship, the more likely it is for a rape to be completed rather than attempted. Half of all student victims do not label the incident “rape.” This is particularly true when no weapon was used, no sign of physical injury is evident and when alcohol was involved — factors commonly associated with campus acquaintance rape. (Source: National Institute for Justice)