Specific laws may vary from state to state but, generally speaking, sexual assault applies to a crime in which the offender or perpetrator subjects a victim to un-wanted and offensive sexual touching. The crime encompasses groping to attempted rape.
Assault is a threat to one"s body that causes fear of harm in the victim. When a crime is called assault and battery, this means that there has been an actual physical impact on the victim, who was touched in a harmful, offensive, violent or painful way.
Assault and Battery
If the victim is threatened but not actually touched this is considered assault. A good example of assault is spitting in someone"s face. This is not a harmful, violent or painful act but it is offensive. Since there is touching, because the spit hits the other person"s face, which means there was impact, this would also be considered battery.
Abuse of Power
Sexual assault is considered a crime because it is an abuse of power. Sexual assault occurs when there is sexual penetration by the threat or use of force; when the act of penetration occurs on a victim who is unable to give consent or understand the act; when the victim is under 18 years of age or a family member; when sexual penetration occurs with a victim who is less than 18 years of age but over the age of 13 and the accused is 17 years or age or older and who held a supervisory, authoritarian or position of trust in regard to the victim.
What Sexual Assault Entails
Sexual assault can include penetration with a foreign object or finger; vaginal intercourse (rape); oral-genital contact and anal intercourse (sodomy); un-wanted fondling, touching and kissing.
When a potential victim informs the predator that his actions are undesired, unwanted yet the accused proceeds, this is sexual assault. When the perpetrator commits or attempt to commits an act of this nature, either through intimidation, threat or force, this is sexual assault.
The sobriety of the perpetrator does not diminish his responsibility for the assault.
On the other hand, sexual battery is the act of making sexually offensive contact, which is unwanted, with intimate body parts of another person. It can also mean that which causes apprehension in another person and fear that an act is going to occur.
Sexual battery also encompasses situations where the accused takes part in this type of bodily contact with someone who is unable to resist or consent due to being under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
Sexual organs, the groin and buttocks, the breasts on a female and the anus are considered intimate body parts and are off limits.
Other forms of sexual misconduct include indecent exposure, making obscene phone calls, “Peeping Tom" behavior and voyeurism.
All of the above are serious offenses and are dealt with accordingly. It is never acceptable to force oneself on another in any respect but particularly not sexually. “No" means “no." If the victim is too young or impaired to say “no" or to understand the nature of these acts, the offense is even more offensive and criminal in nature.