What Counts As Sexual Assault? Victim’s Rights Regarding Sexual Assault
WARNING TO THE READER…This article discusses sexual assault and it’s legal rammifications. There is a strong chance that those who may be triggered by such topic, will be triggered by this article. However, it is important that victims have access to this information.
Things You May Be Feeling After a Sexual Assault
In the aftermath of a sexual attack, you may feel an array of emotions. The legal system can seem daunting and overwhelming when it comes to seeking justice for this life-altering event – but we are here to help guide you through each step with compassion and understanding. Whether it happened only recently or in years past, know that resources exist so seek medical attention if needed and receive as much guidance as possible throughout your healing journey.
Your safety should be your first priority immediately following a sexual attack. Aside than seeking immediate stabilization, it’s critical that you understand your legal rights in case you choose to pursue a sexual assault claim in the future.
The most essential thing to remember is that while healing and rehabilitation should be your primary goals following a sexual attack, legal remedy may also be accessible. A sexual assault claim, whether you seek compensation for physical, emotional, or psychic injuries, may aid in your rehabilitation.
Reporting Sexual Abuse In Texas
This video titled “Everything You Need To Know About Reporting Sexual Abuse in Texas” will shed some light on the situation. Please watch carefully.
What Does Texas Consider The Crime of Sexual Assault
Was I sexually assaulted?
Legal Definition Sexual Assault
Texas Penal Code 22.011
Sec. 22.011. SEXUAL ASSAULT. (a) A person commits an offense if:
(1) the person 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…See full statute at https://statutes.capitol.texas.gov/Docs/PE/htm/PE.22.htm
Sexual assault is a heinous crime that unfortunately takes many forms. However, if we take the time to better understand what sexual assault is and remember it was never the victim’s fault, then this awful act can be fought with greater strength – one way being to keep in mind that any activities involving force or coercion without an individual’s agreement constitute as a sexual attack.
Sexual assault can be defined as any unwelcome sexual activity:
- attempted fondling,
- unwanted sexual contact, or
- touching forcibly,
- compelling victim to do sexual actions (i.e. oral penetration or other forms of sex)
- any unauthorized sexual contact or penetration of the victim’s body by a bodily part or item
Other types of sexual offenses include:
- minor sexual harassment,
- solicitation of underage individuals,
- the possession of pornographic images of children,
- The Use of Force in Sexual Assault
Force doesn’t always take shape as physical dominance; sometimes a person can be coerced into submission due to threats, intimidation or verbal abuse. It’s possible for someone to impose their will through psychological pressure such as threatening harm against themselves and loved ones – this is an act of force.
Legal Definition of Consent in Sexual Assault
Every sexual assault case is heavily reliant on the issue of consent. Consent in a sexual act indicates that all participants consent to the act. The act is considered an assault if performed without consent.
Key Distinctions Regarding Consent
- A person’s decision to consent to sexual activity can be changed at any moment.
- Consenting to one sexual act does not imply consent to all or any subsequent actions.
- Consent to previous or present sexual activities does not imply future consent.
- Communication, whether through words, verbal signals, or physical signs, is crucial to consent.
- Minors are especially susceptible, and many states have a minimum consent age of 16; people with developmental or intellectual impairments may also be unable to provide permission to sexual activity.
Are Sexual Assault and Rape the Same Thing
Experiencing sexual assault can be a traumatic and life-altering event. Unfortunately, many states have different definitions of rape as well as laws surrounding it. While not all forms of sexual attack are legally recognized by the term ‘rape’, they may still cause significant damage in an individual’s life – both physically and emotionally. If you or someone close to you has been affected by this type of crime., remember that there is help available: consult with your attorney for more information on what particular action should be taken depending on the circumstances unique to each case and state laws governing them.
Sexual Assault Victim’s Rights
Sexual assault is an incredibly traumatic event that can leave individuals feeling helpless, alone and filled with rage. However, it’s important to remember you have rights – the right to report what happened and seek legal redress against whoever wronged you. Formalizing your experience by obtaining a medical examination not only provides evidence of the bodily repercussions but also brings assurance knowing justice will be served in some capacity. It may seem intimidating or cause dread at first; however pursuing this path could ultimately aid in bringing closure needed for healing from such horrific actions taken against you.
Filing A Sexual Assault Case – Concerns
After suffering the physical and emotional repercussions of a sexual assault incident, it is understandable why many victims may feel apprehensive about disclosing it to others. Nevertheless, taking action by reporting the occurrence – even if only anonymously– can help ensure that further incidents are prevented in future and justice be served on your behalf or for other potential targets. Although you might worry nobody will believe what happened or fear stigma from public disclosure; rest assured knowing every report made brings us one step closer towards creating lasting change.
Many who have experienced a sexual assault have these concerns:
Knowing the perpetrator: Taking action against those who commit assault is vitally important, not only for the victims but also to protect any other potential victims. In many cases, the victim knows their offender – whether that be a friend or family member – making it all the more imperative to seek justice and ensure safety for everyone involved.
The severity of the assault: No matter the context or evidence, sexual assault is never okay and it’s important to remember that you have a right to speak up. From defending oneself against an assailant in-the-moment, to being discovered by another person after the fact – no one should feel they are not allowed to disclose if they’ve been violated. We must stand together and protect each other from any form of this crime.
Having a romantic relationship with the perpetrator: Despite voicing “no” or showing clear signs of non-consent, some individuals persistently resort to violence against their partners during intimate encounters. Every time this type of malicious and coercive behavior is acted upon – regardless if it happens often – it constitutes sexual assault. The use of force in any instance indicates an attack has taken place; a resounding violation which should never be dismissed as commonplace activity.
You don’t think anyone will believe you: Law enforcement officers have been specially trained in how to approach and manage complaints of sexual assault. If you feel that the officer is not providing a fair hearing, don’t hesitate to reach out for support from an experienced superior.
Consequences: Uncovering someone’s crime takes courage and can be incredibly daunting, especially if the attacker has stated dire repercussions – yet justice must still prevail. Thankfully, there are a multitude of courageous organizations that provide protection for sexual assault survivors so they don’t have to suffer in silence.
What Should You Do If You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted?
Sexual assault victims commonly find it difficult to take action post-experience, due to trauma preventing them from feeling empowered. However, the healing process can be aided by providing means of regaining strength and self-worth. If you or someone you know has been affected by sexual assault and is in need support or guidance on what actions they should next pursue, read this step-by step guide for tips on how to submit a claim as well as immediate steps following an attack.
Be Safe Get Help Now
After being subjected to a traumatic experience like sexual assault, the most important thing is making sure you are safe. This can be achieved by finding secure places such as hospitals, police stations or trusted locations with family and friends where you feel protected from potential harm. Unfortunately for many victims it can be hard to think about anything other than the unfairness of their situation but there does exist help available; both physical and emotional resources that allow individuals on this journey toward healing get back out into society feeling confident in themselves once more.
See the National Sexual Assault Hotline here https://www.rainn.org/resources
Seek Medical Assistance Immediately
After experiencing a terrible assault, you may process powerful emotions such as shock, embarrassment and fear.
You might be hesitant to seek medical attention in front of strangers – but this could prove incredibly beneficial for your long-term health. Highly trained healthcare professionals are equipped to provide the necessary treatment and care – including medication and treatment if required; ultimately helping ensure that you stay safe from any potential internal ailments suffered at the hands of another’s violent actions.
Process This Trauma
Ignoring the occurrence and acting as if it never happened is a frequent coping method for sexual assault or other trauma. This is totally reasonable, since many victims want to resume their normal lives and avoid being labeled as victims. However, recognizing and discussing the occurrence is critical to the healing process.
Every victim must deal with sexual assault in their own unique way. Recovery necessitates the use of healthy and effective coping methods. You can seek talk therapy to work through the challenging emotions or sentiments that will surface in the coming weeks, months, and years. Cognitive behavioral therapy and dialectical behavior therapy are two examples.
Journaling, breathing exercises, meditation, yoga, and other self-serving behaviors are examples. If you seek professional assistance after an occurrence, doctors and groups that help individuals heal from sexual assault can offer you a variety of treatments to explore until you discover one that works for you.
Decide If You Will File A Claim For Sexual Assault Against The Perpetrator
In the weeks and months following your assault, you may consider filing a sexual assault claim, decide against it, talk yourself out of it, and so on. Finally, the choice to file a sexual assault claim is yours, and the rewards and negatives are issues you should carefully examine.
For starters, filing a sexual assault lawsuit can assist in holding the perpetrator accountable for their destructive conduct. This might be especially motivating if you know the culprit and want to assist guarantee they don’t harm anybody else.
It may be satisfying and satisfying to see your perpetrator pay financially or by serving time in jail or prison. Sexual assault is a crime, and submitting claims is the most effective method to ensure that abusers are removed from society.
However, confronting the offender in court, reliving the occurrence during the claims process, and making the incident public may prevent you from filing. Finally, whether or not to make a sexual assault claim should be based on your therapeutic objectives and whether or not filing will aid you in your rehabilitation and later in life.
Length of Time You Can Wait Before Filing Sex Assault Claims
Because many sexual assault survivors opt not to submit a claim immediately away, one often asked question is, “How long do I have to file a sexual assault claim?” The solution might be complicated. As seen by several sexual assault cases over the previous decades, some survivors must wait years before filing a claim.
They may believe they can recover without pursuing legal action, or they may wish to put the tragedy behind them. When survivors opt to take action years after an assault in order to seek justice and expose the perpetrator’s conduct to society, politicians, celebrities, and other famous people have been exposed for sexual assault.
As a result of this, and many other occurrences with non-famous criminals, legislation governing how long after a sexual assault claim may be made have been enacted. These are known as statutes of limitations, and they differ by state.
Statute of Limitations on Sex Assault Charges
To comprehend the statute of limitations on sexual assault by state, it is necessary to first comprehend the variables that influence these laws. The statute of limitations for sexual assault varies by state, depending on numerous aspects such as the type of attack, the sort of felony category the assault comes under, and the victim’s age at the time of the assault.
Some states, for example, have no statute of limitations for sexual assault, which means you can bring a claim decades after the act occurred. Other states may impose time limits on filing a sexual assault claim based on how they punish these offenses. The statute of limitations may range from one to three years in a state that treats non-rape sexual assaults as misdemeanors.
Rape is frequently regarded as the most severe kind of sexual assault; it is a felony in every state and is punished by one year to life in prison. States have different statutes of limitations for rape-related sexual assault (penetration without consent or by use of force). Many websites or organizations, such as the Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network, provide sexual assault statutes of limitations by state.
If you need to know how long you have to bring a sexual assault claim under your state’s statute of limitations, the best method to find out is to call a sexual assault attorney. These knowledgeable attorneys are aware with the laws governing sexual assault and can explain them to you as well as assist you in understanding your legal choices.
Where Do the Most Sexual Assaults Happen?
It can be heartbreaking to see sexual assault statistics and information. However, recognizing the scale of the problem can assist survivors realize they are not alone and can help others know where to start in order to begin reversing the problem.
Sex Assault By Family or Friends
At least 70% of all victims of sexual assault know their offender, who might be a family member, friend, or acquaintance. Unfortunately, rape is the most under-reported crime, with just 63% of other kinds of sexual assault being recorded. Only 12% of child sexual abuse is ever reported, and one in every ten women will be raped, sexually assaulted, or sexually abused by an intimate relationship.
Worry of exposing a friend or family member, as well as fear of ruining family relations, might prevent people from reporting sexual assault that occurs at home or involves someone close to the victim.
Sex Assault on The College Campus
Every year, one in every five females and one in every sixteen males are assaulted on college campuses, yet 90 percent of these victims do not report the crime. Many abusers who self-report sexual violence agree to repeating the behavior.
Most college campuses now have measures in place to assist prospective victims of sexual assault, ranging from providing information on staying safe to campus security systems and campus security personnel who accompany students around campus.
Sexual Assault in the Workplace
Eight percent of all rapes occur at the victim’s workplace. If you were raped or sexually assaulted at work (for example, by a coworker), your company is legally required to take action against the culprit.
Most businesses will not hire a sex offender, and it is not unlawful to discriminate based on a violent sexual history. If you were sexually assaulted at work, you may be entitled to request a leave of absence, tougher safety standards, a change in work schedule, reassignment, or other measures to make you feel secure.
If you are hesitant to speak with your employer after an assault because you are unsure how they will respond or what safety measures they can provide, you can always consult with an attorney first to better understand what you can reasonably expect from an employer following a workplace sexual assault.
Sexual harassment is another essential issue to address in the workplace. Sexual harassment in the workplace is defined by the Equal Opportunity Employment Commission (EEOC) as uninvited sexual approaches or other sexual activity that interferes with a person’s job performance or creates a hostile, unpleasant, or threatening workplace environment. Sexual harassment can so vary from an insensitive sexual joke to unwelcome physical approaches.
Examples of Workplace sexual harassment examples include:
- Speaking about one’s sex life in front of coworkers
- Inquiring about an employee’s sexual life
- Making sexually charged jokes
- Making observations on the attractiveness of other workers
- Frequently remarking on an employee’s looks
- Sexual images or sexual information being sent around the office
- Sending sexually explicit emails or SMS messages
- Spreading sexually charged rumors about an employee
- Inappropriate and/or unwelcome touching of another employee. There has been an upsurge in the number of massage spas.
Some workplace behavior is clearly sexual harassment. However, other behaviors may not be that clear-cut in terms of whether they constitute sexual harassment. The more subtle manifestations of sexual workplace harassment are on the rise, making it increasingly difficult to determine what is and is not appropriate. If you are unsure if a behavior or action is sexual harassment, consult with a human resources staff or a management to confirm that you or another employee has not over the line and to seek help if they have.
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 defines two categories of workplace sexual harassment: hostile work environment and quid pro quo. More information regarding workplace sexual harassment may be found here.
Sexual Assault in Ridesharing
With so many ridesharing services popping up in recent years, sexual assault during rideshares has become a major concern for both customers and drivers. Lyft was sued at least seven times in August 2019 alone for rides that allegedly resulted in sexual assault or rape.
In 2018, Uber recorded over 3,000 sexual assaults, with Uber drivers accounting for 42% of those claims. After reporting the attacks, several survivors were even charged for ride services.
This has attracted attention to a larger issue: Uber, Lyft, and other ridesharing services do not meet the same safety criteria as older, more established communal travel providers like taxis. With so many instances recorded, these ridesharing services are acknowledging the issue and attempting to adopt secure safety requirements to better safeguard drivers and passengers.
Sexual Assault Statutes
In general, every state considers all types of sexual assault to be crimes. The severity of penalties for sexual assault varies by state. A variety of laws have been put in place over time to protect sexual assault survivors.
Different laws and statutes address various aspects of sexual assault. The Clery Act was enacted to require college campuses to make timely and transparent information of sexual assault to students and employees. The Amy and Vicky Child Pornography Reparation Act made it simpler for victims of child pornography offenses to seek and get restitution from individuals who own child pornographic photographs.
There are many more laws concerning sexual assault. These laws are frequently based on a victim’s case that was not fairly handled in the first court processes, resulting in a more complicated case and a higher standard of law for this type of crime.
Speaking with a sexual assault attorney is the best method to grasp the laws in your specific scenario. They cannot anticipate the result of your case, but they may assist you in understanding potential outcomes based on the facts of the occurrence and explaining which laws may apply.
What Happens If I Make a Claim?
Charges might be brought against the culprit after submitting a police complaint. The case will then be assigned to an investigator who will investigate all aspects of the occurrence. The investigator will interview you, as well as the criminal, to obtain information for your case. After gathering all of these data, the investigator will send the case over to the prosecutor’s office.
Some cases may be dismissed owing to a lack of evidence, while others may go on. As a result, it is critical to submit a report as quickly as possible after the assault and to seek medical attention or get a rape kit.
The Claims Procedure for Sexual Assault
If your case goes forward, you will first have a preliminary hearing before a grand jury at which evidence from the case will be presented. The investigator turns over all evidence, which can take up to six months, with the goal of maintaining your anonymity along the way.
Then comes the trial, which varies in duration depending on the case. If the offender is found guilty, the culprit is sentenced, with sentences and other punitive actions varied by state.
Sex Assault Cases That Go Untried
In the United States, the average sentence for rape is 11 years. However, you may have heard of numerous sexual assault cases that never get tried in any court.
Several jurisdictions are implementing various laws and processes to ensure that certain sexual assault cases do not get swept under the rug. Check out this legislation from the 114th Congressional session that addresses that topic.