Face it, sex is one confusing issue. Sometimes it's fun. Sometimes it's scary. And unfortunately, sometimes it turns violent. Our awareness campaign aims to stimulate the discussion and mutual consent necessary to end the confusion and violence that taint one too many sexual encounters. Our goal is to provide words and ways to achieve healthy communication as well as support and assistance for preventing sexual violence.

Last spring, we held focus groups with UC Davis students to find out their feelings on sexual consent, personal responsibility, and sexual assault on campus. Women students felt that the terms "rape" and "sexual assault" didn't always comfortably or "accurately" describe their experiences with coerced or forced sex. Men felt that women needed to be clearer about their sexual boundaries in the beginning of a sexual encounter and that there were unwritten rules regarding consent. Reinforcing that while the stereotypical rape by a stranger is rare, students are being "pushed" into sex, often taken advantage of while under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

This fall in the research phase of a CD Rom project, we screened 200 students about their opinion and perception of rape and sexual pressure on campus, see What's New/Contact
  • The highest rate of intimate partner violence is among women ages 16-24. (1)
In a study surveying more than 6,000 students at 32 colleges and universities in the U.S.(2):
  • 84% of those raped knew their attacker, and over half of the rapes happened on dates
  • Less than a third of the women whose sexual assault met the legal definition of rape thought of themselves as rape victims.

Whether you call it "sexual assault" or a "mistake", it's wrong. And that's why we're urging both men and women to think, and talk before you touch. Define your sexual limits out loud. Intervene when you feel someone is being forced into a sexual situation they'll regret. After all, sex should never be about regret.

Where's the line for you? How do you define "sexual assault"? Tell us what you think at info@voicesnotvictims.org
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(1) "Violence by Intimates: Analysis of Data on Crimes by Current or Former Spouses, Boyfriends, and Girlfriends." Bureau of Justice Statistics Factbook. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. (1998). p. 13.
(2) Robin Warshaw. 1994. I Never Called It Rape: The Ms. Report on Recognizing, Fighting and Surviving Date and Acquaintance Rape. New York: Harper Perennial.

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