When pushed, tricked, or forced into doing something sexual that you don’t want to, that qualifies as sexual assault. It is a form of sexual violence. It covers an array of unwanted sexual behaviours and pertains to people one may know or to strangers.
When it comes to sexual assault and violence, anyone can be a victim. An Australian study released in 2021 states that 8% of men and 23% of women have encountered sexual assault in their lifetimes.
Sexual harassment or assault can be scary, confusing, and hard to come to terms with. The victim may feel overwhelmed, and they may not know what to do. Learn about sexual assault and all you ought to know about it in this article.
Sexual Assault: Definition
Sexual assault is any sexual behaviour or acts you don’t agree with or consent to. If you are forced, manipulated, or intimidated into doing anything sexual that you don’t want to, that is sexual assault. It involves a wide array of unwanted sexual behaviours and acts. This includes;
- Improper touching
- Forceful oral, vaginal, or anal penetration
- Sexual intercourse that you do not agree or consent to explicitly
- Attempted rape
- Child molestation
- Indecent assault (threatening or touching someone sexually without their consent)
Sexual assault can be visual, verbal, or anything that coerces an individual to partake in unwanted sexual contact, activity, or attention. Examples of this include; exhibitionism, voyeurism, incest, and sexual harassment.
It can happen anywhere and in different situations. It can be done by a stranger in a deserted area, on a date, or even at home by someone you know or by a family member.
Everything You Need To Know
Now that the meaning is clear, here are some statistics. One in every five women will encounter sexual assault in their life. Most of them are young girls and women. The best way to reduce these numbers is to teach them and the people around them. If you are a victim of any form of sexual assault, you must know that it’s never your fault. Only the perpetrator should be held responsible for their actions. That being said, here’s all you need to know.
Impact Of Sexual Assaults On Survivors
Sexual assault can have long-term physical, emotional, and psychological effects on a victim. It can be difficult for victims to trust their perceptions of what happened and their memories of the event. This is because trauma is often complicated by:
- Impaired memory: Traumatic experiences cause memory to be distorted or changed. Memories may also become more vivid and intense over time.
- Anger at the perpetrators: Victims may feel angry toward their attackers. This can lead to increased self-blame and shame knowing that they were assaulted by someone they trusted. They may also blame themselves for the assault because they did not protect themselves or stop it from happening.
- Fear of future assaults: Survivors of sexual assault often live in fear of being assaulted again. As such, they are less likely than other people to report an incident as sexual assault. There is fear that no one will believe them or that people might think they are lying about what happened.
Many Sexual Assaults Victims Never Tell Anyone About Their Attacks
Even though sexual assault and rape are common, it’s one of the most underreported crimes in the history of crime. Its horrid nature and the shame it brings, plus, the fear of reliving these horrible acts during court proceedings thwart many sexual assault survivors from coming forward.
Even though reporting is a major concern, false reporting is not. In fact, when it comes to sexual assaults, false reports are rare. Sexual violence experts estimate that falsified reports are at 2%. Compared to other crimes, this figure is low.
Consent Is Ongoing
Understanding consent is key to preventing and reporting unwanted sexual acts and demeanour. Consent is something that is continuous and can be renegotiated at any given time during a sexual encounter. Going home with someone does not necessarily mean you have agreed to have sex with them.
Moreover, consent means you can say no at any given time. For instance, if you decide to make out with someone, but you are not ready to take it further than that, saying ‘no’ is okay. If you are forced into something more after saying no, that’s sexual assault.
When assessing whether a sexual act was consensual or not, three main things are taken into consideration. One, are the parties involved old enough to give consent? Two, do the parties involved have the capacity to give permission? Three, did all the parties involved consent to the sexual act or behaviour? If any of these responses is a ‘no,’ there’s a high chance that a sexual assault transpired.
To consent, a person must communicate a ‘yes’ to participate in a sexual act. As a result, if a person says ‘no’, then, in that case, consent is not given. Other examples are if they say nothing, are physically forced, or are physically or mentally incapacitated (they’re intoxicated, drunk, or high on drugs or other substances). In these 3 cases, there is no consent.
Also, if they are unconscious, consent is not present. In short, if a person does not provide explicit approval, then any sexual act is not consensual but assault.
Any form of sexual act or behaviour you don’t permit is sexual assault. In most cases, a person is manipulated, forced, tricked, and intimidated into having sexual activities with the perpetrators. A big percentage of these cases is usually done by somebody one knows.
In order to protect yourself, you should know what consent means. When you say no, it means no. Also, sexual offenders don’t wear condoms. In this case, it is advised that one go to the hospital to get emergency contraceptives.
Remember, if you’re a sexual assault victim, you’re not alone, and it’s never your fault.