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What is Sexual Assault or Abuse?

Sexual assault/abuse is the act of any sexual contact, behavior, or activity that occurs without the consent of the victim. 

Every 68 seconds someone in the United States is sexually assaulted/abused. 1 of every 5 women, and 1 of every 33 men, in the U.S. has experienced an attempted or completed rape in their lifetime. In addition transgender persons, Native Americans, prisoners and members of the military also experience sexual assault/abuse at an even higher rate. Chances are you may know someone who has, or will, experience sexual assault/abuse in their lifetime. Sexual assault/abuse can happen through physical force, threats of force, or if the attacker gave the victim drugs or alcohol as a part of the assault. Sexual assault/abuse includes rape and sexual coercion.

What is Consent?

Consent is the act of communicating an agreement to engage in sexual contact or activity. Even after consenting, you can change your mind at any time.

In the State of Colorado the age of consent is 17 years old. Anyone under the age of 17 years old is legally unable to consent; meaning that sexual contact or activity with anyone under the age of 17 is considered statutory rape. This does not include Colorado's "Romeo & Juliet" law.

Did you know that ability/capacity to consent is also important in regards to sexual contact or activity?

Other things to keep in mind when considering consent:

  • Does the victim have a developmental disability or traumatic brain injury that would prevent them from legally consenting?

  • Was the victim intoxicated? Consent cannot be given by people who are intoxicated or under the influence of drugs

  • Did the victim have a physical disability? While disabled persons can consent, if their disability puts them in a helpless state where they cannot defend themselves or fight off their offender consent has not been given

  • Was the victim’s perpetrator a person of authority or a person of trust?

  • Was the victim unconscious? Unconscious people cannot consent

  • Is the victim considered a vunderable adult? Vunerable adults (elderly or ill persons) who rely on other people for care may not be able to consent

If you have been sexually assaulted/abuse it is important to remember it is not your fault, regardless of the circumstances. Hilltop's Latimer House provides ongoing support services for victims and survivors of sexual assault with safety, trust, and advocacy.

24 Hour Crisis Line: 877.543.9520


24 Hour Crisis Line: 800.799.7233
Text "START" 88788

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