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Sexual Assault and Rape

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Terms and Concepts in Sexual Assault continued...

If you have regrets or second thoughts about a sexual encounter, carefully evaluate what occurred to determine if the other party had any indication that they were acting against consent. If there is no indication that consent had been withdrawn, then sexual assault did not take place.

False accusations of sexual assault

People invent allegations of sexual assault for reasons that are regarded as criminal. One study showed that over a nine-year period, up to 16% of sexual assault allegations in one sexual assault exam center were shown after police investigation to be false allegations. Authorities, people accused of sexual assault, victims of sexual assault, and the perpetrators of false allegations should be aware that the possibility of a false allegation will be considered during the investigation of an assault.

In most cases of real sexual assault, ample evidence of the assault will exist. In cases of false accusations, it is equally likely that there will be clear signs that the accusation is false. Making false accusations is a crime.

Preventing Sexual Assault

For prevention, take care at all times to identify people and situations that may lead to sexual assault. The chances of being a victim can be lowered by following these practices:

  • Train in self-defense.
  • Use common sense in choosing the people you associate with.
  • Avoid potentially dangerous situations when outside or in your house (answering the door) and when interacting with strangers anywhere.
  • Avoid intimate or solo contact with people that you do not know well.
  • If a person is making unwelcome sexual advances, no matter how minor, take action in the earliest stages and make every effort to disassociate from that person.
  • Use self-control when drinking alcohol.
  • At social events, be careful about what you consume and who has access to your drinks. 
  • Avoid extreme intoxication in which you lose control, especially when you are not in a protected environment.
  • Adopt an approach in dating and getting to know people that involves postponing being alone together, intimacy, and sexual interaction until you feel you have gotten to know the person very well
  • When intimacy is initiated between consenting parties, make clear early on your limitations (for example, you don't want intercourse).
  • Think about how you would react in an assault situation in advance and use that plan early and without reservation.
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WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by David T. Derrer, MD on July 27, 2014
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