Glossary of Terms

Sexual Violence

Sexual violence is defined as physical sexual acts engaged in without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. Sexual violence includes sexual assault, rape, battery, and sexual coercion; domestic violence; dating violence; and stalking.

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault occurs when physical sexual activity is engaged in without the consent of the other person or when the other person is unable to consent to the activity. The activity or conduct may include physical force, violence, threat, or intimidation, ignoring the objections of the other person, cause the other person's intoxication or incapacitation though the use of drugs or alcohol, or taking advantage of the other person's incapacitation (including voluntary intoxication).

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is defined as abuse committed against an adult or a minor who is a spouse or former spouse, cohabitant or former cohabitant, or someone with whom the abuser has a child, has an existing dating or engagement relationship, or has had a former dating or engagement relationship.

Dating Violence

Dating violence is defined as abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship or a romantic or relationship of an intimate nature with the victim.


Stalking is behavior in which a person repeatedly engages in conduct directed at a specific person that place that person in reasonable fear of his or her safety or the safety of others.


Under California Penal Code 261, rape is summarized as sexual intercourse against an individual's will accomplished by force or threats of bodily injury; or fear that the victim or another will be injured if the victim does not submit to the intercourse; or where the victim is incapable of giving consent or prevented from resisting due to being intoxicated, drugged, or unconscious or asleep.


Consent is informed . Consent is an affirmative, unambiguous, and conscious decision by each participant to engage in mutually agreed-upon sexual activity.

Consent is voluntary . It must be given without coercion, force, threats or intimidation. Consent means positive cooperation in the act or expression of intent to engage in the act pursuant to an exercise of free will.

Consent is revocable . Consent to some form of sexual activity does not imply consent to to other forms of sexual activity. Consent to sexual activity on one occasion is not consent to engage in sexual activity on another occasion. A current or previous dating or sexual relationship, by itself, is not sufficient to constitute consent. Even in the context of a relationship, there must be mutual consent to engage in sexual activity. Consent must be ongoing throughout a sexual encounter and can be revoked at any time. Once consent is withdrawn, the sexual activity must stop immediately.

Consent cannot be given when a person in incapacitated. A person cannot consent if she/he is unconscious or coming in and out of consciousness. A person cannot consent if she/he is under the threat of violence, bodily injury, or other forms or coercion. A person cannot consent if his/her understanding of the act is affected by a physical or mental impairment.



If you are in immediate danger, call 911.

If you have experienced sexual violence but are not in immediate danger, learn how to get support and contact a CARE advocate at (951) 827-6225 or the Riverside Area Rape Crisis Center (951) 686-7273.



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