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If you feel that you are in immediate danger, please call 911.

Types of Abuse

Sexual Assault

Sexual assault is a form of sexual violence and is an attempt, coupled with the ability, to commit a violent injury on the person of another because of that person's gender or sex and without their consent. Examples of sexual assault include unwanted touching, kissing, fondling, or penetration of the mouth, vagina, or anus with a finger, penis, or object.

Dating Violence

Dating violence is a form of sexual violence, and is abuse committed by a person who is or has been in a social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim. This may include someone the victim just met; i.e., at a party, introduced through a friend, or on a social networking website.


Stalking means a repeated course of conduct directed at a specific person (when based on gender or sex) that places that person in reasonable fear for his/her or others' safety, or causes the victim to suffer substantial emotional distress. In most situations, stalkers are trying to intimidate, harass, and control their victims. Stalking also often occurs within an abusive relationship in which the abusive partner is trying to track and control the victim’s movements and interactions.

Emotional Abuse

Psychological or emotional abuse involves trauma to the victim caused by acts, threats of acts, or coercive tactics.

This list is not exhaustive. Other behaviors may be considered emotionally abusive if they are perceived as such by the victim. Additionally, all victims may not perceive some of the behaviors on the list as psychologically or emotionally abusive.

Street Harassment

Street harassment is a form of sexual harassment that occurs between strangers in public places. It typically takes the form of actions or comments that are disrespectful, unwanted, threatening and/or harassing, and are motivated by gender or gender expression. Street harassment is considered a human rights issue by the U.N. and other global organizations because it limits the victims' ability to enter public places safely and comfortably.

How you should react to street harassment depends on the situation. Your safety is always the first priority, so if you feel the situation could be unsafe, you should walk away from the
perpetrators without making eye contact or engaging them. If you experience street harassment on campus, call Campus Security at (509) 527-2222 to report it. If it is an emergency and you fear for your safety, call 911. Stop Street Harassment offers tips on dealing with harassers as well as other options for what to do before or after the harassment has already occurred.

Domestic Violence

Domestic violence is a form of sexual violence and is abuse committed against someone who is a current or former spouse, current or former cohabitant, someone with whom the abuser has a child, someone with whom the abuser has or had a dating or engagement relationship, or a person similarly situated under Washington domestic or family violence law.

Cohabitant means two unrelated persons living together for a substantial period of time, resulting in some permanency of relationship. Factors that may determine whether persons are cohabiting include, but are not limited to, (1) sexual relations between the parties while sharing the same living quarters, (2) sharing of income or expenses, (3) joint use or ownership of property, (4) whether the parties hold themselves out as husband and wife, (5) the continuity of the relationship, and (6) the length of the relationship.

Myths and Facts

Myth: I didn’t resist physically, so it isn’t rape.

Fact: People respond to an assault in different ways. Just because you didn’t resist physically doesn’t mean it wasn’t rape. Many victims make the good judgment that physical resistance would cause the attacker to become more violent.

Myth: One or both of us were drunk, so it isn’t rape.

Fact: Alcohol and drugs are not an excuse – or an alibi. Regardless of whether you were drunk or sober, if the sex is non-consensual, it is rape. Forcing sex on someone who is too drunk to give consent (legally drunk) is considered a crime in most states. Rape is a crime. People who commit crimes while under the influence of alcohol or drugs are not considered free from guilt.

Myth: I used to date the person who assaulted me, so it isn’t rape.

Fact: Rape can occur when the offender and the victim have a pre-existing relationship (sometimes called “date rape” or “acquaintance rape”). If it is non-consensual this time, it is rape.

Myth: There is a right way to respond to a rape situation.

Fact: Since rape is life-threatening and each rapist has their own pattern, the best thing a victim can do is follow their own instincts and observe any cues from the rapist. If the victim has escaped alive, they have behaved the right way.

Myth: Victims provoke rape.

Fact: Research has found that the vast majority of rapes are planned. Rape is the responsibility of the rapist alone. Opportunity is the most important factor determining when a given rapist will rape.

Myth: Domestic violence is rare.

Fact: A national study reported that 29% of women and 22% of men had at some point been
victims of physical, sexual, or psychological intimate partner violence. Every year in the U.S., more than 800,000 men and 1.5 million women experience sexual or domestic violence at the hands of an intimate partner. It is also a myth that domestic violence happens only in
lower-income families. In fact, domestic violence occurs with people of all economic and ethnic backgrounds.

Myth: It’s only abuse if you were physically hurt.

Fact: There are many types of abuse, including physical, sexual, verbal, psychological, and emotional. Not all abuse results in physical injuries. If a person repeatedly hurts you, scares you, humiliates you, or belittles you, it is still abuse. Many abusers will also try to control your choices and your finances, isolate you from friends and family, or become excessively controlling by insisting on knowing where you are at all times. These are all examples of abuse.

Myth: Domestic violence is caused by alcohol and/or drug use.

Fact: Alcohol and drug use does not cause domestic violence, even though it often accompanies it. The abuser is still responsible for his/her actions and exhibit abusive behavior even without alcohol or drug use.

Myth: Abusers lose control and the abuse is unintentional.

Fact: Domestic violence is not solely the physical abuse. Other controlling behaviors, such as
intimidation, controlling decisions, and isolation of the victim, are integral parts of the abuse. The abuser wants to gain control in many ways, and those are done intentionally.

Myth: Domestic violence does not commonly include sexual abuse.

Fact: Domestic violence includes many forms of abuse, including physical, sexual, verbal,
psychological, and emotional. Sexual abuses can include sexual assault, harassment, or
exploitation. Domestic violence occurs when the abuser wants to control the victim. Sexual abuse is another method of exerting that control.

Myth: Women are not abusers and men are not victims of domestic violence.

Fact: Men are the victims of domestic abuse almost as often as women are. Studies have
reported that for every 47 women who are abused, there are at least 32 men who are abused.

Last update on January 11, 2018