Sexual assault is sexual contact that is forced, coerced, or is a direct result of intimidation. Although rape is the most reported form of sexual assault it is not by any means the only action that constitutes sexual assault.
- If an individual forecably touches your genitals, your breasts, or rear end even after you said, “No," that is sexual assault.
- The same is true of sexual intercourse or penetration of any form.
- If you did not give consent, it is sexual assault.
- If weapons such as guns or knives are used in rape and/or sexual contact.
- If your attacker has a partner, who aids them in raping you or achieving sexual contact.
- If you are drugged (date rape drugs) via alcohol or in any other way rendered unconscious prior to rape or any other unwanted sexual contact.
If an individual in authority claims he/she will take actions against you unless you allow unwanted sexual contact or sexual intercourse. For instance, a teacher threatens to fail you in their class or give you a bad grade unless you have sexually intercourse with them or allow them to touch you in a sexual manner. Individuals in authority include but not limited to: your boss, your parent(s), teachers, principals, law enforcement officers and doctors.
Intimidation is the act in which one individual instills fear in another individual or group. Individuals known to intimidate include: bosses, law enforcement officiers, bullies at school or work, and even individuals you may feel are your friends. Sexual assailants often use intimidation to achieve sexual contact or sexual intercourse with their victims. Some intimidating threats used by these offenders include but are not limited to:
- Threatening bodily harm or death of you or persons close to you.
- Release of personal information or photographs that may harm you mentally or emotionally.
- Release of false information that may result in job loss or other occurences detromental to your livelihood.
Actions Constituting Sexual Assault
Sexual contact without consent is sexual assault. Outside of rape, sexual contact is outlined as touching, fondling, or grazing another person"s genitals or breasts without acquiring consent. Sexual contact is also considered touching, fondling, or grazing any part of another individual"s body with your own genitals or breasts without consent. Consent constitutes a fully functional adult giving approval for sexual contact. Coersion, intimidation, or forcing sexual contact is not consentual and is considered sexual assault.
Who Cannot Consent to Sexual Contact
Individuals younger than 16 years of age cannot legally consent to sexual contact. An individual who has sexual contact of any kind with a child under the age of 16, even if they too are under this consent age, are guilty of sexual assault. Individuals considered by law to be adults who have sexual contact with children under 16 will also face statutory rape, child molestation, or other serious charges. By law penetration is not limited to sexual intercourse. Penetration of any kind can constitute sexual assault; it can also constitute rape.
Incapacitated individuals cannot consent to sexual contact. Incapacitated applies to more than individuals with physical or mental disabilities. Individuals, who are rendered unconscious due to alcohol consumption or drug usage are also considered incapacitated. Any individual facilitating any form of sexual contact with incapacitated individuals is guilty of sexual assault.
Sexual Harrassment as Sexual Assault
Sexual harrassment is defined as:
- Threats to sexually contact another individual.
- Using suggestive language in a sexual nature.
- The display of pornographic, suggestive, or other sexually explicit pictures or materials.
- Usage of degrading language such as referring to a woman with who you are not romantically involved as “Babe" or other inappropriate names.
- Offering favors in exchange for sexual activity including that which is consentual.
Sexual harrassment involving unwanted sexual contact constitutes sexual assault. Once the harrassment crosses the boundary between talk and contact, the victim can file sexual assault charges against the aggressor.