Was it Rape?

Overview

The legal definition of criminal rape varies from state to state. But just because what happened to you cannot be proved in a court of law does not make it any less real, painful, or horrible.

A good, general definition of rape is described by the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) as:

“Penetration, no matter how slight, of the vagina or anus with any body part or object, or oral penetration by a sex organ of another person, without the consent of the victim.”

Arkansas

In Arkansas, rape is defined as a crime under the law in A.C.A. 5-14-103 as:

(A) A person commits rape if he engages in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual activity with another person:
(1) By forcible compulsion; or
(2) Who is incapable of consent because he is physically helpless, mentally defective or mentally incapacitated; or
(3) Who is less than fourteen (14) years of age; or
(4) Who is less than eighteen (18) years of age, and the actor:
(a) The victim’s guardian;
(b) Uncle, aunt, grandparent or step-grandparent, grandparent by adoption;
(c) Brother, sister or the whole or half-blood or by adoption;
(d) Nephew, niece or first cousin.

Whether, in a court of law, a prosecutor can PROVE beyond a reasonable doubt that what was done to you was “by forcible compulsion” or because you were “incapable of consent” is largely up to the police and the prosecutor. Just because the police and prosecutor do not make an arrest and prosecute the person that hurt you does not mean you were not raped.

University of Arkansas

If you are a University student hurt by another student, the person who hurt you could be found in violation of “Sexual Misconduct.” This is a Code of Student Conduct policy that all students must abide by. Sexual Misconduct is:

“Any sexual activity or attempt to engage in sexual activity, that does not involve the knowing consent of each individual expressed verbally or otherwise, or any prohibited activity as defined in university policies on sexual assault. Such conduct includes, but is not limited to, any sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage in against her or his will, or any sexual act engaged in while a partner is temporarily or permanently incapacitated, such as:
  • a. Any form of sexual penetration when the victim does not or is unable to provide knowing consent.
  • b. Any touching or fondling of the sex organs or body parts for the purpose of sexual gratification when the victim is unable to or does not give knowing consent.
  • c. Any trespass, force, restraint, domicile invasion, or coercion made with actual or threatened sexual intent.
  • d. Indecent exposure.”

If what happened to you falls within any of the definitions above, you can report what happened to the University of Arkansas and your local police department. Once the University knows of a student being sexual assaulted, it is obligated to investigate what happened. For more information on how the University handles sexual assault, look at their Title IX webpage.

If you would like to talk to someone about what happened, your reporting options and what you can do, you can contact Stop Arkansas Rape at 479-259-1515.