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Rape and sexual assault are essentially the same thing. Sexual assault is a new, and more broadly used term.

Most people know it is against the law for a stranger to sexually assault someone. Some people, however do not realize that forced, unwanted intercourse with someone you know, maybe even someone you are in a relationship with, is also against the law.

Sexual Assault

When discussing sexual assault/rape there are two definitions to review:

Illinois law

In the state of Illinois "sexual assault" or rape, is a felony and could result in an individual being sentenced to time in prison. It is defined as penetration (could be oral, anal, or vaginal), by force or threat of force, or when the victim is unable to give knowing consent. If an individual is "incapacitated from drugs or alcohol" (i.e. drunk) they cannot give consent. Having sex with someone who is drunk, is by definition, a crime.

Illinois State Code of Conduct

ISU’s Student Code of Conduct provides a definition of "sexual misconduct" which is much broader than the state’s definition (General Regulations, Section III-7). It states:

"Students shall not engage in any physical act that is sexual in nature and which is committed under pressure, force, threat, or coercion, or without the full and informed consent of all persons involved. For the purpose of this policy, consent must be freely and actively given through mutually understandable terms or actions. A person is deemed incapable of giving consent when that person is a minor, is mentally disabled, mentally incapacitated, physically helpless, under the influence of alcohol or drugs to the point of being unable to make a rational decision, unconscious or asleep. A person always retains the right to revoke consent at any time during a sexual act."

Key Points

  • Consent must be actively given. Submission is not consent. Lack of a "no" is not consent.
  • If an individual is intoxicated, they cannot provide consent. Having sex with someone who is drunk IS sexual assault/rape.
  • Penetration is not required. Any unwanted, nonconsensual sexual activity could constitute sexual misconduct.


Consensual sex is when both partners are freely and willingly agreeing, or consenting, to whatever sexual activity is occurring. The issue of consent is very clear. Consent is an active process and a responsibility shared by both partners in any relationship.

Consent cannot be given when an individual is intoxicated. Sex without consent is sexual assault/rape. You cannot assume that you have consent – you need to ask.

Make sure the sex you are having is consensual.

Key Points

  • Do not make assumptions about consent; lack of a "no" is not a "yes"
  • Ask for consent – It communicates respect and generally sex is better if both partners can talk about what they like/don’t like
  • Communicate clearly – Talk about your sexual desires and limits
  • Know that if someone is intoxicated they cannot legally consent to sex. Having sex with someone who is intoxicated is rape.
  • Approach relationships as equal partners, openly communicating in an atmosphere of mutual respect and shared decision-making.

2018-01-30T10:32:52.709-06:00 2018