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Unwanted Sexual Activity

Unwanted sexual activity simply means any sexual activity in which any party involved does not give full and free consent. A verbal "no," no matter how insecure or indecisive it may sound, constitutes a lack of consent. Acquaintance rape is unwanted sexual activity and is defined as follows: forced, manipulated or coerced intercourse by a friend or acquaintance.

How is Sexual Assault Legally Defined in Rhode Island?

Sexual assault is a felony crime in Rhode Island, and punishable by imprisonment of up to 15 years. State law defines sexual assault in three degrees:

First Degree Sexual Assault, also called rape, has two major components:

  1. Any forced, coerced, penetration of the vagina, anus or mouth by any part of another's body or by an object..
     
  2. Legally, lack of consent does not necessarily require physical resistance or verbal refusal. For instance, someone who is asleep or very drunk is, by definition of the law, unable to give consent.

Second Degree Sexual Assault is non-consenting sexual contact with another person. This includes any forced or coerced contact with a person's genital area, inner thigh, buttocks or the breast of a female.

Third Degree Sexual Assault is sexual penetration by a person 18-years old or older of a person over 13 years of age, but under the age of consent, which is 16 years of age.

Copies of the Rhode Island Statutes are available in the following offices: Counseling, Health, Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards, Public Safety, Student Life and the Women's Center.