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voices against violence

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is any kind of sexual contact against a person's will and without consent. Sexual violence can happen to anyone, no matter their age, gender-identity, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, class background, religion, or ability.

The term “sexual violence” includes:

  • Sexual Assault: Any unwanted sexual contact, including intercourse, touching, or oral sexual stimulation that is performed without consent.
  • Rape: Any kind of penetrative sexual intercourse - vaginal, oral, or anal - that is committed without consent. Intercourse during which the survivor is drunk, unconscious or otherwise considered unable to consent is also rape. Rape is a type of sexual assault.

Sexual violence is never a survivor’s fault

Sexual violence is a choice one person makes to ignore or deny another’s wishes and autonomy. Sexual assault is never the fault of the person experiencing harm, no matter the circumstance or relationship between those involved. Survivors are never to blame, even if they:
  • had been drinking or using drugs.
  • experienced a “freeze” response or did not “fight back.”
  • have little or no memory of what happened.
  • have had sex with this individual or someone else before.
  • are related to, have been or are currently in a romantic relationship or are friends or acquaintances with the person who assaulted them.
  • consented to one type of sexual intimacy but not to what happened.

Most sexual assaults are perpetrated by people who are known and trusted by a survivor. Sometimes survivors question whether what they've experienced is assault, especially if the person who harmed them was a partner or someone with whom they've had consensual sex in the past. Some people are sexually assaulted by someone they don't know or don't know well.

Survivors' needs often change over time and decisions around support, reporting and healing are ongoing. Some decisions, such as receiving a sexual assault forensic exam (SAFE), are time sensitive. Resources, such as on-campus counseling and advocacy, are available no matter when the assault occurred. Survivors can choose to speak confidentially with a VAV advocate for information about their rights and options. Other resources, such as the Student Emergency Services Advocates and Interpersonal Violence Peer Support program are also available. If you are a UT student and would like to know more about survivors’ rights and options, including reporting, please see the UT Austin Title IX Resource Guide.

University Commitment and Policy

The University of Texas at Austin is committed to maintaining a learning environment that is free from discriminatory conduct based on gender.

The official policy of UT Austin can be found here: http://catalog.utexas.edu/general-information/appendices/appendix-d/.

Sexual Violence Issues

UT Austin Title IX Resource Guide
Immediate Medical Options
Safety Planning
Common Reactions
Taking Care of Yourself
Reporting Options
Concerns Related to Identity
Male Survivors of Sexual Assault (PDF)



UT Counseling and Mental Health Center

UT Counseling and Mental Health Center Voices Against Violence
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The University of Texas at Austin - What Starts Here Changes The World