Consent, Sexual Assault & Rape

Got Consent?

There seems to be a great deal of confusion about what the law says about CONSENT and LACK OF CONSENT.http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/publications/infores/clergy/rape.htm

See this link from the US DOJ:

General Information and Definition

Sexual activity should always be safe, sane and consensual. However, this does not always happen – for a wide variety of reasons. When sexual activity occurs without consent, it is sexual assault.

For many, the term sexual assault usually equates to rape. However, the term sexual assault can involve any type of unwanted (non-consensual) sexual activity including:

inappropriate touching
vaginal, anal, or oral penetration
sexual intercourse that you say no to
rape
attempted rape
child molestation

Sexual assault can be “verbal, visual, or anything that forces a person to join in unwanted sexual contact or attention. Examples of this are voyeurism (when someone watches private sexual acts), exhibitionism (when someone exposes him/herself in public), incest (sexual contact between family members), and sexual harassment.”

According to the law, sexual assault is “sexualized contact (sometimes referred to as carnal knowledge) with another person without consent and by force (compulsion).” This force doesn’t have to be physical – it can also be through fear, deception, coercion, or the use of intoxicants such as alcohol and drugs. However, sexual assault laws vary by state and can include laws about age of consent (sometimes called statutory rape laws), types of sexual assault, and level of punishment for the different types of sexual assault.

Types Of Sexual Assault
Child Sexual Abuse

The sexual assault of children (which often includes incest). Sexual abuse often involves sexual contact by force, trickery, or bribery where there is an imbalance in age, size, power, or knowledge.

Date (or Acquaintance) Rape
Date rape is a sexual assault that occurs when you already have a relationship with the person who assaulted you. This can include friends, current or former sexual partners, or other acquaintances.

Sexual Exploitation By A Helping Professional
Sexual contact of any kind between a helping professional (doctor, therapist, teacher, priest, professor, police officer, lawyer, etc.) and a client/patient. This, like child abuse, involves an imbalance in power and sometimes knowledge between the perpetrator and the victim.

Spousal (or Partner) Rape
Sexual acts committed without a person’s consent and/or against a person’s will where the perpetrator is the individual’s current partner (married or not), previous partner, or co-habitator.

Consent
Consent is the “conscious and considered agreement to voluntarily engage in sexual activity with another.” Consent is the foundation of all healthy sexual activity and is a key part of a healthy, happy sex life.

If you decide to become intimate with someone, both people should give consent and be sensitive to the acceptance or nonacceptance of the other person. Check in with your partner often about their comfort level around certain sexual activities and clearly state if you want to stop the sexual activity at any time. If you partner wants to stop sexual activity for any reason, stop immediately.

There are some people who cannot give consent for sexual activity according to the law, including those who are mentally compromised or intoxicated – sometimes called “diminished capacity.” There are also situations where the victim of sexual assault is not required to consent in situations where there is fear of great harm, threats with real or alleged weapons, the use or threat of physical injury or brute force.

Male Sexual Assault
Male victims of sexual assault are an often forgotten population–unseen, neglected, and under-served. Male victims often have more barriers when it comes to accessing services after a sexual assault – because of fear of judgment from friends or family or having local resources that only provide services to women.

There are also quite a few myths about male victims of sexual assault:

Men are immune to victimization.
Men should be able to fight off attacks.
Men shouldn’t express emotion.
Men enjoy all sex, so they must have enjoyed the assault.
Male survivors are more likely to become sexual predators.

What To Do If You’ve Been Sexually Assaulted
The CDC’s Women’s Health site offers these steps if you have been sexually assaulted:

Get away from the attacker to a safe place as fast as you can. Then call 911 or the police.

Call a friend or family member you trust. You also can call a crisis center or a hotline to talk with a counselor. One hotline is the

National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673). Feelings of shame, guilt, fear, and shock are normal. It is important to get counseling from a trusted professional.

Do not wash, comb, or clean any part of your body. Do not change clothes if possible, so the hospital staff can collect evidence.

Do not touch or change anything at the scene of the assault.

Go to your nearest hospital emergency room as soon as possible. You need to be examined, treated for any injuries, and screened for possible sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or pregnancy. The doctor will collect evidence using a rape kit for fibers, hairs, saliva, semen, or clothing that the attacker may have left behind.

You or the hospital staff can call the police from the emergency room to file a report.

Ask the hospital staff about possible support groups you can attend right away.

Not all victims choose to report their sexual assault. Statistics indicate that over 60% of rapes are not repoted to the police.

However, reporting a sexual assault is one key to preventing future sexual assaults. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network offers a wide variety of support and information on their website.

Male Sexual Assault

Male victims of sexual assault are an often forgotten population–unseen, neglected, and under-served. Male victims often have more barriers when it comes to accessing services after a sexual assault – because of fear of judgment from friends or family or having local resources that only provide services to women.

There are also quite a few myths about male victims of sexual assault:

Men are immune to victimization.
Men should be able to fight off attacks.
Men shouldn’t express emotion.
Men enjoy all sex, so they must have enjoyed the assault.
Male survivors are more likely to become sexual predators.

Here are some important links for men and women to read and understand:

http://kinseyconfidential.org/resources/sexual-assault/

http://www.justdetention.org/pdf/Rape%20by%20Fraud.pdf


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