Hesperian Health Guides

Chapter 19: Rape and Sexual Assault

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HealthWiki > Where Women Have No Doctor > Chapter 19: Rape and Sexual Assault

a woman hiding her face against a wall

Rape is sexual violence. Women are not to blame for it.

As with other kinds of violence, the goal of the rapist is to gain power over and control his victim. For more information, see 'Why Does a Man Hurt a Woman?'.

Rape and sexual assault both mean sexual contact that a woman does not want. Rape is any time a man puts his penis, finger, or any object into a woman’s vagina, anus, or mouth without her consent.

Rape is sometimes called sexual ‘assault’ because it is an act of violence, using sex as a weapon. Sexual assault can include rape as well as other kinds of unwanted sexual attention.

Some people think that forced sex is rape only if the man beats up a woman or leaves her unconscious. They think she must try hard to get away and risk being killed rather than be raped. But even if a woman does not fight back, it is still rape. No matter what she decides to do, if it was not her choice, it was rape, and it is never her fault.

This page was updated:17 Apr 2019