According to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 50% of women and 33% of men have experienced sexual violence involving sexual contact at some point in their lives.
At the most basic level, sexual assault refers to sexual contact coupled with the lack of consent. With those principles in mind, it is evident that the term may apply to a very wide range of conduct from penetrative rape, to the unwanted touching of another’s intimate parts through their clothes.
Sexual assault is any sexual activity performed on someone in a nonconsensual way. Consent is defined as an enthusiastic, affirmative agreement to engage in sexual acts. If someone agrees to one sex act but is pressured into another, that is assault. If an individual cannot consent due to intoxication or unconsciousness, that is assault. If someone refuses to perform a sex act but is coerced anyway, that is assault.
According to the National Sexual Violence Research Center, 81% of women and 43% of men reported experiencing some form of sexual harassment and/or assault in their lifetime. That same source reports that 734,630 people reported being sexually assaulted in 2018. It is difficult to accurately tally the exact number of people who experienced an assault because not every victim of a non-consensual sexual act feels comfortable sharing their experience or even acknowledges that they were assaulted.
There are many different types of sexual assault under the law. Depending on the law or laws violated, sexual assault can be a misdemeanor or a felony. The crime of rape or criminal sexual penetration has multiple degrees including the lesser charge of aggravated sexual assault. In most cases, this is a felony.
An even lesser charge of sexual assault is criminal sexual contact or sexual battery. These crimes are closer to misdemeanor status and do not feature penetration as part of the acts. There are also variants of sexual assault law such as sexual conduct by a person in authority or sexual conduct with a minor. These acts may be added to a sexual battery or rape charge as appropriate and may enhance misdemeanor level charges to felony status.
Sexual harassment is a form of sex-based workplace discrimination. In order to be classified as sexual harassment, the discriminatory behavior must either rise to the level of being pervasive or severe.
Pervasive sexual harassment creates a hostile work environment through repeated inappropriate acts against an employee. This could include sexual jokes, inappropriate touching, or repeated advances. Severe sexual harassment does not need to be repeated. A severe incident, such as a sexual assault, creates the feeling that the workplace is unsafe and is therefore hostile.
There is no hard limit on how many times you can file for bankruptcy. Instead, each chapter of bankruptcy has a window that limits when they can be filed for again. For example, if you successfully file for and are granted relief under Chapter 7 bankruptcy, you will not be allowed to petition for Chapter 7 bankruptcy again for eight years. A successful Chapter 7 bankruptcy will also prevent you from filing Chapter 13 bankruptcy for four years.
No. The term sexual abuse is often used in the context of acts committed against children. As with many other forms of sexual crimes, there need not be any contact with the victim, and child sex abuse can include sharing pornographic materials with a minor, sending them obscene text messages, or engaging with them in online interactions of a sexual nature.
Sexual harassment generally refers to a much wider range of behaviors than those defined as crimes under state and federal laws, and is the subject of civil lawsuits rather than criminal prosecution. Sexual harassment often occurs within the workplace, for example when co-workers or bosses make frequent inappropriate comments about a co-worker’s dress or appearance, tell overtly sexual jokes or discuss activities of a sexual nature in a co-worker’s presence, or subject them to quid-pro-quo harassment, which is when a person in a position of power solicits sexual favors from a subordinate by promising them raises or promotions.
Yes. One example is incest. Except for Rhode Island and New Jersey, every state in the US criminalizes incest between consenting adults (although how incest is defined, and the penalties imposed, will vary from state to state).
Another example is professional sexual exploitation which involves sexual activity between professionals such as doctors, therapists, psychiatrists, clergy members, and similar professionals who hold a position of trust vis-à-vis their clients, who are likely to be in a vulnerable state mentally or emotionally, and therefore extremely susceptible to being taken advantage of.
Of course, such misconduct will almost certainly result in the suspension of the professional’s license by the relevant licensing authority, in many states, depending on the professional position and nature of the act, such misconduct can also be a crime. For example, under the Colorado Penal Code, the commission of an act involving sexual intrusion or penetration between a psychotherapist and their client is considered aggravated sexual assault; with the code specifically stating that the client’s consent is not a legal defense to the crime.
No. In fact, many sex crimes are committed without the victim being aware that they have taken place. Some examples include: