Sexual Assault

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 What Is Sexual Assault?

When a person pressures or forces someone into unwanted sexual contact, it is considered sexual assault. There are different ways a person can feel sexually assaulted. These horrendous incidents can occur when a victim is asleep, unconscious, under the influence of alcohol or drugs, or physically helpless.

Below are some forms of sexual violence:

  • Rape or sexual assault;
  • Sexual assault by your partner or spouse;
  • Unwanted sexual contact or touching;
  • Sexual harassment;
  • Sexual exploitation;
  • Exposing one’s private parts without consent;
  • Masturbating in public and;
  • Nonconsensual image sharing.

Unfortunately, data reveals the extent of the misconceptions regarding sexual violence, victims of sexual violence, and perpetrators of sexual violence. For instance, in most rape cases, the victim knows the perpetrator. Therefore, being aware of who is in your social and family circle is important to protect yourself. However, in many cases, perpetrators are not adults. Some of them are under the age of 18.

Furthermore, their research shows that sexual assault among youth occurs between the ages of 14-21. Victims are both males and females. The perpetrators are also both female and male. In the United States, one in five women and one in seventy-one men will be raped in their lifetime. Therefore, learning self-defense and providing women with whistles or pepper spray can help prevent some incidents.

Also, informing them about the dangers of walking alone at night and having someone not accompany them. These basic steps will not necessarily prevent sexual assaults, and they allow people to be more aware of their surroundings and understand the importance of avoiding these behaviors. The root cause of sexual assault is not always sexual desire.

In many cases, it is about power, control, and hostility, as evidenced by significantly higher incidences of sexual violence in vulnerable populations. Comprehending this concept and applying it to awareness of sexual abuse can be useful.

What Is Consent?

Consent must be freely given. A person can change their mind at any time also. It is not considered simply a yes or no situation. Consent is more thoughtful and mindful than that. It is a constant dialogue between the parties about desires, needs, and comfort levels with different sexual interactions.

Consent is provided at the time of the act of sexual intercourse or sexual contact with actual words or conduct indicating freely given agreement to engage in sexual intercourse or sexual contact. More nuisances in consent can create uncertainty, but it is based on each circumstance and the facts presented in the case.

How to Raise Awareness Of and Prevent Sexual Violence?

Education and prevention of sexual violence should occur at all levels of society. Sexual violence can be preventable through the cooperation of community leaders in our neighborhoods, homes, schools, faith settings, workplaces, and other settings. Each individual plays a part in creating norms that promote respect, safety, and equality in all relationships.

Understanding the root cause of sexual abuse can bring awareness to its issues. Sexual violence typically stems from notions of power, control, and hostility. A main goal is to address and stop it before an incident occurs. Remember that primary prevention will require addressing the behaviors that lead people to perpetuate.

Therefore, addressing these behaviors and promoting healthy interpersonal relationships can lead to more appropriate behavior. There must be a pathway to create active consent for anyone engaging in sexual activities. The earlier the change, the more it is implemented later in the relationships. This means having open communication on what it means to have a respectful and supportive relationship—addressing the potential issues and understanding how attitudes need to change.

Creating safe boundaries and spaces in relationships allows trust to foster. This trust will create respect in the relationships and allow the person to express themselves. Furthermore, having a trusted adult to confide in can be crucial in these situations.

Language is key when discussing sexual violence among the victims. Discussing healthy and safe environments can help the youth implement them in their relationships. Communicating to them what a responsible and respectful relationship should be can assist in understanding the differences between a harmful one.

Bringing awareness to prevent unwanted sexual activity can lead to more informed relationship decisions. Sexual activities that make you feel unsafe and uncomfortable should not be taken lightly. Be vigilant of your surroundings, and if you need to reach out to someone for help, seek assistance immediately.

However, standing up for yourself in these scenarios can be extremely challenging, especially if this person is your partner, friend, or spouse. Sexual assault can happen in different circumstances depending on where you are and who you are with. Moreover, there should not be an emphasis on fault in these situations.

Sexual assault is a serious problem; downplaying any part of it can cause the victim or survivor to feel at fault. Therefore, to educate and inform victims in the right way, there must be essential training that needs to be done. These situations must be carefully addressed, and having a well-trained counselor on these matters will be useful.

But, sometimes, the perpetrators can hone in on the victim with self-blame and secrecy. For instance, if there have been several incidents involving sexual assault, the victim may be silent because of fear of the perpetrator. Some perpetrators insist on silence as their special secret or sometimes as a threat.

The importance of informing students about the difference between respectful and disrespectful relationships shows the expectations in an interpersonal relationship. This can be the starting point for preventing unpleasant sexual situations. It is crucial to keep reiterating that the fault lies with the perpetrator, not the victim.

Sexual assault occurs because someone chooses to assault and abuse that victim. Therefore, creating a clear message to the victims that they are heard and that resources are available to help them. Most states have policies in place in each county to address these issues and provide guidance on who to contact if you experience them.

Reporting sexual abuse is mandatory in some situations. You can look at your local government website for more information on this.

Who Is the Victim or Survivor?

Law enforcement utilizes the word victim or survivor to describe an individual who has experienced sexual abuse or sexual assault. Therefore, this term is often used when referencing statistics or specific crimes. Resources are available for victims and survivors to cope with their traumatic experiences.

For some, identifying as a survivor honors their journey from victim to survivor. Victims and survivors should feel safe to share their experiences and stories to prevent future abuse. Through their stories, we can educate society on the importance of protecting your privacy and preventing sexual assault.

When Do I Need To Contact a Lawyer?

Sexual assault is a traumatic experience, and you must seek help immediately. If you are having trouble finding a trusted counselor or sharing your experience, you can contact a local criminal defense lawyer who can assist you in this process. There are resources available in your local state county and help as needed.

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