Sexual assault
Overview
Sexual assault is an assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

 of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children.

The term sexual assault is used, in public discourse, as a generic term that is defined as any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will, or any sexual touching of a person who has not consented.
Encyclopedia
Sexual assault is an assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

 of a sexual nature on another person, or any sexual act committed without consent. Although sexual assaults most frequently are by a man on a woman, it may involve any combination of two or more men, women and children.

The term sexual assault is used, in public discourse, as a generic term that is defined as any involuntary sexual act in which a person is threatened, coerced, or forced to engage against their will, or any sexual touching of a person who has not consented. This includes rape
Rape
Rape is a type of sexual assault usually involving sexual intercourse, which is initiated by one or more persons against another person without that person's consent. The act may be carried out by physical force, coercion, abuse of authority or with a person who is incapable of valid consent. The...

 (such as forced vaginal, anal or oral penetration
Sexual penetration
Sexual penetration is a sexual activity that involves the entry into a bodily orifice, such as the vagina, anus or mouth, with a body part or an object....

), inappropriate touching
Groping
When used in a sexual context, groping is touching or fondling another person in a sexual way using the hands; it generally has a negative connotation, and is considered molestation in most societies. The term 'frotteurism' may be applied when a person rubs up against another person, typically...

, forced kiss
Kiss
A kiss is the act of pressing one's lips against the lips or other body parts of another person or of an object. Cultural connotations of kissing vary widely. Depending on the culture and context, a kiss can express sentiments of love, passion, affection, respect, greeting, friendship, and good...

ing, child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities , indecent exposure with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to...

, or the torture
Torture
Torture is the act of inflicting severe pain as a means of punishment, revenge, forcing information or a confession, or simply as an act of cruelty. Throughout history, torture has often been used as a method of political re-education, interrogation, punishment, and coercion...

 of the victim in a sexual manner.

In legal terms, sexual assault is the name of a statutory offence in various jurisdictions, including Canada
Canada
Canada is a North American country consisting of ten provinces and three territories. Located in the northern part of the continent, it extends from the Atlantic Ocean in the east to the Pacific Ocean in the west, and northward into the Arctic Ocean...

, England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

, Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland
Northern Ireland is one of the four countries of the United Kingdom. Situated in the north-east of the island of Ireland, it shares a border with the Republic of Ireland to the south and west...

, Scotland
Scotland
Scotland is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. Occupying the northern third of the island of Great Britain, it shares a border with England to the south and is bounded by the North Sea to the east, the Atlantic Ocean to the north and west, and the North Channel and Irish Sea to the...

 and Texas
Texas
Texas is the second largest U.S. state by both area and population, and the largest state by area in the contiguous United States.The name, based on the Caddo word "Tejas" meaning "friends" or "allies", was applied by the Spanish to the Caddo themselves and to the region of their settlement in...

. The legal definition of the crime of sexual assault is determined by each jurisdiction
Jurisdiction
Jurisdiction is the practical authority granted to a formally constituted legal body or to a political leader to deal with and make pronouncements on legal matters and, by implication, to administer justice within a defined area of responsibility...

, and these definitions vary considerably and are influenced by local social and cultural attitudes.

Within the United States, about 300,000 women are raped each year and 3.7 million women are subjected to other forms of unwanted sexual activity. About 80,000 American children are sexually abused each year. It has been estimated that one in six American women has been or will be sexually assaulted during her life. Largely because of child and prison rape
Prison rape
Prison rape commonly refers to the rape of inmates in prison by other inmates or prison staff.In 2001, Human Rights Watch estimated that at least 140,000 inmates had been raped while incarcerated. and there is a significant variation in the rates of prison rape by race...

, approximately ten percent of reported rape victims are male.

Definition

In the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 the definition of sexual assault varies widely between the individual states. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network defines sexual assault as "unwanted sexual contact that stops short of rape or attempted rape. This includes sexual touching and fondling."

The National Center for Victims of Crime states that:

Rape

Outside of law, the term rape ("an assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

 by a person involving sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 with another person without that person's consent
Consent
Consent refers to the provision of approval or agreement, particularly and especially after thoughtful consideration.- Types of consent :*Implied consent is a controversial form of consent which is not expressly granted by a person, but rather inferred from a person's actions and the facts and...

") is often used interchangeably with sexual assault, a closely related (but in most jurisdictions technically distinct) form of assault typically including rape and other forms of non-consensual sexual activity.

Abbey et al. state that female victims are much more likely to be assaulted by an acquaintance (such as a friend or co-worker), a dating partner, an ex-boyfriend or an intimate partner than by a complete stranger. In a study of hospital emergency room treatments for rape, Kaufman et al. state that the male victims as a group sustained more physical trauma, were more likely to have been a victim of multiple assaults from multiple assailants, and were more likely to have been held captive longer.

Attempted rape

Attempted rape is a failed attempt to force sexual intercourse with someone without their consent.
Attempted rape under the Criminal Attempts Act 1981 is a 'sexual offence' within section 31(1) of the Criminal Justice Act 1991.

Child sexual abuse

Sexual assaults on children are normally viewed far more seriously than those on an adult. This is because of the innocence of the child victim, and also because of the long-term psychological impact that such assaults have on the child.

Child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse
Child sexual abuse is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent uses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of child sexual abuse include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities , indecent exposure with intent to gratify their own sexual desires or to...

 is a form of child abuse in which an adult or older adolescent abuses a child for sexual stimulation. Forms of CSA include asking or pressuring a child to engage in sexual activities (regardless of the outcome), indecent exposure
Indecent exposure
Indecent exposure is the deliberate exposure in public or in view of the general public by a person of a portion or portions of his or her body, in circumstances where the exposure is contrary to local moral or other standards of appropriate behavior. Indecent exposure laws vary in different...

 of the genitals to a child, displaying pornography
Pornography
Pornography or porn is the explicit portrayal of sexual subject matter for the purposes of sexual arousal and erotic satisfaction.Pornography may use any of a variety of media, ranging from books, magazines, postcards, photos, sculpture, drawing, painting, animation, sound recording, film, video,...

 to a child, actual sexual contact
Human sexual behavior
Human sexual activities or human sexual practices or human sexual behavior refers to the manner in which humans experience and express their sexuality. People engage in a variety of sexual acts from time to time, and for a wide variety of reasons...

 against a child, physical contact with the child's genitals, viewing of the child's genitalia without physical contact, or using a child to produce child pornography
Child pornography
Child pornography refers to images or films and, in some cases, writings depicting sexually explicit activities involving a child...

.

The effects of child sexual abuse include depression
Clinical depression
Major depressive disorder is a mental disorder characterized by an all-encompassing low mood accompanied by low self-esteem, and by loss of interest or pleasure in normally enjoyable activities...

, post-traumatic stress disorder
Post-traumatic stress disorder
Posttraumaticstress disorder is a severe anxiety disorder that can develop after exposure to any event that results in psychological trauma. This event may involve the threat of death to oneself or to someone else, or to one's own or someone else's physical, sexual, or psychological integrity,...

, anxiety
Anxiety
Anxiety is a psychological and physiological state characterized by somatic, emotional, cognitive, and behavioral components. The root meaning of the word anxiety is 'to vex or trouble'; in either presence or absence of psychological stress, anxiety can create feelings of fear, worry, uneasiness,...

, propensity to re-victimization in adulthood, and physical injury to the child, among other problems. Sexual abuse by a family member is a form of incest
Incest
Incest is sexual intercourse between close relatives that is usually illegal in the jurisdiction where it takes place and/or is conventionally considered a taboo. The term may apply to sexual activities between: individuals of close "blood relationship"; members of the same household; step...

, is more common than other forms of sexual assault on a child, and can result in more serious and long-term psychological trauma
Psychological trauma
Psychological trauma is a type of damage to the psyche that occurs as a result of a traumatic event...

, especially in the case of parental incest.

Approximately 15% to 25% of women and 5% to 15% of men were sexually abused when they were children. Most sexual abuse offenders are acquainted with their victims; approximately 30% are relatives of the child, most often brothers, fathers, mothers, sisters and uncles or cousins; around 60% are other acquaintances such as friends of the family, babysitters, or neighbors; strangers are the offenders in approximately 10% of child sexual abuse cases.

Studies have shown that the psychological damage is often particularly severe when sexual assault is committed by parents against children due to the incestuous nature of the assault. Incest between a child or adolescent and a related adult has been identified as the most widespread form of child sexual abuse with a huge capacity for damage to a child. Often, sexual assault on a child is not reported by the child for several reasons:
  • children are too young to recognize their victimization or put it into words
  • they were threatened or bribed by the abuser
  • they feel confused by fearing the abuser but liking the attention
  • they are afraid no one will believe them
  • they blame themselves or believe the abuse is a punishment
  • they feel guilty for consequences to the perpetrator

Elderly sexual assault

Elderly sexual assault is victimization of persons over the age of 60, most of whom suffer from decreased functionality, frailty, and weakness and therefore are reliant on caretakers. Only 30% of people age 65 or older who are victimized report it to the police. The most common assailants are caretakers, adult children, spouses and fellow facility residents.
Signs that an elder is being assaulted include increased vaginal tearing, bleeding, bruising, infection, pelvic injury, soft tissue or bone injury. Also, an altered mood might be an indication of sexual assault. These symptoms include extreme agitation, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, withdrawal, panic attacks, STDs, exacerbation of existing illness, sleep disturbences, longer recovery times.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is intimidation
Intimidation
Intimidation is intentional behavior "which would cause a person of ordinary sensibilities" fear of injury or harm. It's not necessary to prove that the behavior was so violent as to cause terror or that the victim was actually frightened.Criminal threatening is the crime of intentionally or...

, bullying or coercion
Coercion
Coercion is the practice of forcing another party to behave in an involuntary manner by use of threats or intimidation or some other form of pressure or force. In law, coercion is codified as the duress crime. Such actions are used as leverage, to force the victim to act in the desired way...

 of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors. In the United States, sexual harassment is a form of discrimination which violates Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The legal and social definition of what constitutes sexual harassment differ widely by culture. Sexual harassment includes a wide range of behaviors from seemingly mild transgressions to serious forms of abuse, and some forms of sexual harassment overlap with sexual assault. Sexual Harassment may include leering, pressure for dates, pressing or rubbing against a person, obscene phone calls, bra snapping, wolf-whistles, lip-smacking, indecent exposure, sexual discrimination, displaying explicit materials, sexist jokes, unwanted grabbing, comments about person's body, soliciting sexual services.

Groping

The term "groping" is used to define the touching or fondling of another person in a sexual way (including through clothing), using the hands, without that other person's consent.

Domestic violence

Domestic violence is a crime of power and intimidation. It relates highly to sexual assault. Not only can the abuse be emotional, physical, psychological, and financial, but it can be sexual. Some of the signs of sexual abuse are very similar to those of domestic violence.

Emotional effects

Traumatic events such as rape and sexual assault have, aside from obvious physical traumas, profound long-term psychological effects on all victims including but not limited to children who are assault victims. These include:
denial, helplessness, dislike of sex, anger, self-blame, anxiety, shame, nightmares, fear, depression, flashbacks, guilt, rationalization, mood-swings, numbness, promiscuity, loneliness, social anxiety, difficulty trusting oneself or others, difficulty concentrating.
Family and friends experience emotional scarring including a strong desire for revenge, a desire to "fix' the problem and/or move on, and a rationalization that "it wasn't that bad".

Prevalence

A United Nations
United Nations
The United Nations is an international organization whose stated aims are facilitating cooperation in international law, international security, economic development, social progress, human rights, and achievement of world peace...

 report compiled from government sources showed that more than 250,000 cases of rape or attempted rape were recorded by police
Police
The police is a personification of the state designated to put in practice the enforced law, protect property and reduce civil disorder in civilian matters. Their powers include the legitimized use of force...

 annually. The reported data covered 65 countries.

Canada

Sexual assault is defined as sexual contact with another person without that other person's consent. Consent is defined in section 273.1(1) as "the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question".

Section 265 of the Criminal Code of Canada defines the offenses of assault
Assault
In law, assault is a crime causing a victim to fear violence. The term is often confused with battery, which involves physical contact. The specific meaning of assault varies between countries, but can refer to an act that causes another to apprehend immediate and personal violence, or in the more...

 and sexual assault.

Section 271 criminalizes "Sexual assault", section 272 criminalizes "Sexual assault with a weapon, threats to a third party or causing bodily harm" and section 273 criminalizes "Aggravated sexual assault
Aggravated sexual assault
Aggravated Sexual Assault is when one commits an aggravated assault of a sexual nature and who wounds, maims, disfigures or endangers the life of the complainant....

".

Consent

The absence of consent defines the crime of sexual assault. Section 273.1 (1) defines consent, section 273.1 (2) outlines certain circumstances where "no consent" is obtained, while section 273.1 (3) states that subsection (2) does not limit the circumstances where "no consent" is obtained (i.e. subsection (2) describes some circumstances which deem the act to be non-consensual, but other circumstances, not described in this section, can also deem the act as having been committed without consent). "No consent" to sexual assault is also subject to Section 265 (3), which also outlines several situations where the act is deemed non-consensual. In 2011, the Supreme Court of Canada
Supreme Court of Canada
The Supreme Court of Canada is the highest court of Canada and is the final court of appeals in the Canadian justice system. The court grants permission to between 40 and 75 litigants each year to appeal decisions rendered by provincial, territorial and federal appellate courts, and its decisions...

 in R. v. J.A.
R. v. J.A.
R. v. J.A. is a criminal law decision of the Supreme Court of Canada regarding consent in cases of sexual assaults. The court found that a person can only consent to sexual activity if they are conscious throughout that activity. If a person becomes unconscious during the sexual activity, then...

interpreted the provisions below to find that a person must have an active mind during the sexual activity in order to consent, and that they cannot give consent in advance.
  • Meaning of “consent”


273.1 (1) Subject to subsection (2) and subsection 265(3), “consent” means, for the purposes of sections 271, 272 and 273, the voluntary agreement of the complainant to engage in the sexual activity in question.

Where no consent obtained

(2) No consent is obtained, for the purposes of sections 271, 272 and 273, where
(a) the agreement is expressed by the words or conduct of a person other than the complainant;
(b) the complainant is incapable of consenting to the activity;
(c) the accused induces the complainant to engage in the activity by abusing a position of trust, power or authority;
(d) the complainant expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to engage in the activity; or
(e) the complainant, having consented to engage in sexual activity, expresses, by words or conduct, a lack of agreement to continue to engage in the activity.

Subsection (2) not limiting

(3) Nothing in subsection (2) shall be construed as limiting the circumstances in which no consent is obtained.
  • Section 265(3)


Consent

(3) For the purposes of this section, no consent is obtained where the complainant submits or does not resist by reason of
(a) the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;
(b) threats or fear of the application of force to the complainant or to a person other than the complainant;
(c) fraud; or
(d) the exercise of authority.

In accordance with 265 (4) an accused may use the defense that he believed that the complainant consented, but such a defence may be used only when "a judge, if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that, if believed by the jury, the evidence would constitute a defence, shall instruct the jury when reviewing all the evidence relating to the determination of the honesty of the accused's belief, to consider the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for that belief"; furthermore according to section 273.2(b) the accused must show that he took reasonable steps in order to ascertain the complainant's consent, also 273.2(a) states that if the accused's belief steams from self-induced intoxication, or recklessness or wilful blindness than such belief is not a defense.
  • 265 (4)

Accused’s belief as to consent

(4) Where an accused alleges that he believed that the complainant consented to the conduct that is the subject-matter of the charge, a judge, if satisfied that there is sufficient evidence and that, if believed by the jury, the evidence would constitute a defence, shall instruct the jury, when reviewing all the evidence relating to the determination of the honesty of the accused’s belief, to consider the presence or absence of reasonable grounds for that belief.
  • Where belief in consent not a defence


273.2 It is not a defence to a charge under section 271, 272 or 273 that the accused believed that the complainant consented to the activity that forms the subject-matter of the charge, where
(a) the accused’s belief arose from the accused’s

(i) self-induced intoxication, or

(ii) recklessness or wilful blindness; or
(b) the accused did not take reasonable steps, in the circumstances known to the accused at the time, to ascertain that the complainant was consenting.

South Africa

The Criminal Law (Sexual Offences and Related Matters) Amendment Act created the offence of sexual assault, replacing a common-law offence of indecent assault
Indecent assault
Indecent assault is an offence of aggravated assault in many jurisdictions. It is characterised as a sex crime.Indecent assault was an offence in England and Wales under sections 14 and 15 the Sexual Offences Act 1956...

. "Sexual assault" is defined as the unlawful and intentional sexual violation of another person without their consent. The act's definition of "sexual violation" incorporates a number of sexual acts, including any genital contact that does not amount to penetration as well as any contact with the mouth designed to cause sexual arousal. Non-consensual acts that involve actual penetration are rape rather than sexual assault.

Unlawfully and intentionally inspiring the belief in another person that they will be sexually violated also amounts to sexual assault. The act also created the offences of "compelled sexual assault", when a person forces a second person to commit an act of sexual violation with a third person; and "compelled self-sexual assault", when a person forces another person to masturbate or commit various other sexual acts on himself or herself.

England and Wales

Sexual assault is a statutory offence in England and Wales
England and Wales
England and Wales is a jurisdiction within the United Kingdom. It consists of England and Wales, two of the four countries of the United Kingdom...

. It is created by section 3 of the Sexual Offences Act 2003
Sexual Offences Act 2003
The Sexual Offences Act 2003 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland that was passed in 2003 and became law on 1 May 2004.It replaced older sexual offences laws with more specific and explicit wording...

 which defines "sexual assault" as when a person (A)

Northern Ireland

Sexual assault is a statutory offence. It is created by article 7 of the Sexual Offences (Northern Ireland) Order 2008. Sexual assault is defined as follows:

Scotland

Sexual assault is a statutory offence. It is created by section 3 of the Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009
Sexual Offences (Scotland) Act 2009
The Sexual Offences Act 2009 is an Act of the Scottish Parliament. It creates a code of sexual offences that is said to be intended to reform that area of the law....

.
Sexual assault is defined as follows:

Texas

Penal Code, Sec. 22.011.(a) creates the offence of sexual assault. It reads:
A person commits an offense if the person:
(1) intentionally or knowingly:
(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of another person by any means, without that person's consent;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of another person by the sexual organ of the actor, without that person's consent; or
(C) causes the sexual organ of another person, without that person's consent, to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
(2) intentionally or knowingly:
(A) causes the penetration of the anus or sexual organ of a child by any means;
(B) causes the penetration of the mouth of a child by the sexual organ of the actor;
(C) causes the sexual organ of a child to contact or penetrate the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor;
(D) causes the anus of a child to contact the mouth, anus, or sexual organ of another person, including the actor; or
(E) causes the mouth of a child to contact the anus or sexual organ of another person, including the actor.

See also

  • R v Collins
    R v Collins
    R v Collins 1973 QB 100 is a case decided by the Court of Appeal of England and Wales which examined the meaning of "enters as a trespasser" in the definition of burglary...

  • Sexual assault in the U.S. military
    Sexual assault in the U.S. military
    There is an ongoing problem with sexual assault in the U.S. military which has resulted in a series of scandals that have received extensive media coverage. Incidents which were publicized include the Tailhook scandal in 1991, the Aberdeen scandal in 1996 and the 2003 US Air Force Academy sexual...

  • Tailhook scandal
    Tailhook scandal
    The Tailhook scandal refers to a series of incidents where more than 100 U.S. Navy and United States Marine Corps aviation officers were alleged to have sexually assaulted at least 87 women, or otherwise engaged in "improper and indecent" conduct at the Las Vegas Hilton in Las Vegas, Nevada...

  • 2003 U.S. Air Force Academy sexual assault scandal
  • List of anti-sexual assault organizations in the United States

Further reading

  • Wishart, G.D. (2003). "The Sexual Abuse of People with Learning Difficulties: Do We Need A Social Model Approach To Vulnerability?", Journal of Adult Protection, Volume 5 (Issue 3).

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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