The legal definition of rape and sexual assault varies from state to state, California law defines rape as "an act of penile/vaginal intercourse accomplished with a person, not the spouse of the perpetrator, and without the consent of the person." Rape may also include situations in which penetration is accomplished when the victim is unable to give consent, or is prevented from resisting, due to being intoxicated, drugged, unconscious or asleep. The crime of rape is classified as a felony.

1.Legal definitions provided by the California Commission on Peace Officer Standards and Training (POST) Sex Crimes Learning Domain, Copyright 2002.


The legal definition according to California law defines sexual battery as, "the act of touching another person’s intimate parts for the purpose of sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse, against the will of the person." Intimate parts (private parts) refer to the sexual organs of any person and the breast of a female.


Acquaintance rape occurs when the suspect is someone whom the victim knows. This person could be a friend, boyfriend/girlfriend, lover, family member, neighbor, etc. Acquaintance rape is a misunderstood form of criminal violence. There is a common misconception that acquaintance rape is not as serious, not as criminal, and not as traumatic to the victim as stranger rape. Some people think it isn't "real rape." These are mistaken beliefs. Rape is a felony crime, regardless of the offender's relationship to the victim. Acquaintance rape is just as serious and just as devastating to the victim as stranger rape.

If you are a victim of acquaintance rape, get the help and support you need to cope with the effects of the assault and heal from the trauma you have suffered.


To give permission or approval for something to happen. For example, "I will never consent to do that."


Rape by someone with whom the survivor has been, or is, a voluntary companion.


Rape by more than one person; at least one of whom is known to the survivor.


Sexual activity between two people who are considered, for moral and genetic reasons, too closely related to have such a relationship.