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Sexual violence: a general “umbrella” term used to encompass a spectrum of sexual assault.


Sexual assault: A single incident of sexual violence.


Rape: Vaginal, oral, or anal penetration without consent.


Harassment:  Unwelcome advances such as, but not limited to: catcalling, intimidation, using power, coercion, actions, comments, attention, and/or gestures. Typically based on gender, sex, sexual orientation, race, religion, class, physical appearance, and abilities.


Survivor: Someone who has experienced sexual violence.


Sexual Assault Examination Kit (SAEK, Rape Kit): This is a kit done when a survivor goes to the hospital. It consists of paperwork, oral swabs, buccal swabs, genital swabs, anal swabs, general swabs that can be used anywhere, a pelvic exam, photographs of any physical injury, contraception medicine, STD/STI prevention medicine, and clothing if a survivor chooses to submit those as evidence. A survivor gets to choose which, if any, of the kit they would like to have done.


Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE): This is a nurse who, in most cases, performs the sexual assault examination kit. These nurses have to go through special, trauma-informed training to provide this care to survivors.


Consent: An enthusiastic, verbal “yes” given freely from someone that can be withdrawn at any point in time, no questions asked. Consent should not be assumed based on past experiences and should be active and ongoing throughout sexual activity. Neither silence nor a lack of resistance/protest should be interpreted as consent.  


Age of consent: This is something that differs in every state. The age of consent in your state can be found here.


Culture of consent: A culture that normalizes asking in every situation. From asking to sit next to someone on public transit, to asking for permission to kiss someone, and asking for sexual permission.


Rape culture: A society that sympathizes with perpetrators, blames survivors, and normalizes unhealthy sexual behavior.


Sexual violence continuum: A tool used to show how certain behaviors can escalate into dangerous behaviors. For example, if a person finds rape jokes are funny, how far are they away from making a rape joke or saying something harmful?


Primary sexual violence prevention: This type of prevention focuses on educating people on what consent it, what sexual violence is, and more. It is the most effective type of sexual violence prevention education.


Secondary sexual violence prevention: This type of prevention focuses on carrying pepper spray or a knife, not walking alone at night, completing a self defense class, and more. This shifts the blame onto the survivor to protect themselves, and not on education for everyone to stop the behavior before it begins.


Title IX: A protection that college students hold in order to receive accommodations after experiencing violence.


Grey rape: When a survivor doesn’t remember what happened or if it was an act of non-penetrative sexual violence. These acts are still considered sexual violence and should be taken as seriously as anything other form of sexual violence.


Coercion: Using tactics such as manipulation or threats to gain something.


Stealthing/Ghosting: The removal of contraception during sexual activity or lying about being on a form of contraception.


“Locker room” talk: Sexually negative conversations held by like-minded individuals. Similar to “boys will be boys.”


“Perfect victim” myth: The idea that all sexual assault survivors were assaulted at night by a stranger.


PREA: The Prison Rape Elimination Act.