Sexual Assault and Rape

Sexual assault and rape are weapons used by perpetrators to hurt and dominate others—motivated by a need to control, humiliate, and harm. It is never a survivor’s fault.

Sexual assault refers to any sexual, physical, verbal, or visual act that forces a person to engage in sexual contact against their will or without their affirmative consent. Rape commonly refers to forced sexual intercourse, including vaginal, anal, or oral penetration through physical force, such as being restrained or drugged, or threats to escalate violence. Legal definitions of these terms vary by states and jurisdictions.

In the United States, one in three women and one in six men are survivors of sexual violence.

If you or someone you know need help, view this list of resources.

At Joyful Heart, we understand how difficult the pain of these experiences can be. We honor the strength it takes to survive and heal. We sincerely hope the information and resources below and throughout our website can help along that journey.

About Sexual Assault and Rape

What is sexual assault? What is rape? Learn the common definitions of these terms, along with the meaning of consent.

Learn more about sexual assault and rape.

Effects of This Trauma

Survivors of sexual assault and rape can experience the effects of trauma in many ways without a specific timeline.

Learn the effects of sexual assault and rape.

Know the Signs

Survivors each have their own response to trauma. Learn some of the common signs to look out for if you think you or someone you know may have been assaulted.

Learn signs of someone who may be a victim. 


The number of survivors of sexual assault and rape are staggering. Read the statistics of the number of people who have experienced sexual violence.

Learn more about sexual assault statistics.

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