In the legal sense, it is very important to know the difference between sexual violence, assault, and harassment. A specific sex crime has a corresponding punishment, and some offenses carry much more severe penalties than others. In other words, someone who is convicted of rape may receive a more severe punishment than one who is convicted of sexual assault.
While the legal definition of these crimes can vary by state, it is generally accepted that sexual violence is any unwanted sexual act directed at another person. It also refers to a sexual act that is obtained without the person’s consent and often through the use of violence or intimidation. Some acts of sexual violence are mistakenly believed to be justified, or the other party could recant their consent (or they were too intoxicated at the time to give it) at a later date to police.
Legal Definition of Sexual Assault
The terms “sexual assault” and “rape” are often used interchangeably. However, legally speaking, sexual assault can refer to any kind of unwanted sexual contact or behavior. Examples of such behavior can include:
- Forcible intercourse (rape)
- Attempted rape
- Forcible sodomy
The term “sexual violence” is often used to describe an act of sexual assault. However, this is not entirely accurate. “Sexual violence” is a much broader term that could includes acts such as:
- False promises
- Catcalling or whistling
- The sharing of explicit images (unless, of course, the recipient is a minor)
Sexual Harassment Categories
Sexual harassment is defined as unwanted sexual advances or requests as well as unwanted physical contact or verbal statements of a sexual nature. While unwanted sexual attention may sound like a mild crime, it can damage the reputation of or lead to civil against the accused.
There are three main categories that sexual harassment tends to fall into:
- Coercion (intimidation or pressure)
- Unwanted sexual attention
- Gender harassment
Unwanted sexual attention and coercion are commonly reported in the workplace. Another type of sexual harassment to take note of is gender harassment. While this behavior might not involve any sexual contact or advances whatsoever, this kind of harassment focuses more on demeaning remarks based on gender.
Sexual Abuse Involves Children
The term “sexual abuse” is more often used to describe conduct toward children, rather than adults. Every state in the country has laws with regard to a child’s inability to consent to a sexual act. The age of consent varies by state, but the range is between 16 and 18 years of age.
Someone who is charged with sexual abuse may be accused of many different crimes, including:
- Touching the victim in a sexual way
- Forcing the victim to touch him or her in a sexual way
- Forcing the victim to look at or watch a sexual act
- Forcing the victim to look at intimate body parts
Fight For Your Freedom
Have you been charged with a sex crime? We understand that your reputation is on the line, in addition to your freedom. You might be charged with a crime you didn’t commit, but the system might not be on your side. Our Los Angeles criminal defense lawyers have extensive experience helping their clients fight these types of charges. Connect today with an experienced lawyer at the Simmrin Law Group for a FREE consultation. You can fill out our contact form or call (310) 997-4688 today. Let us fight for you!