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Sexual Assaults

Cases of sexual assault in Australia are treated seriously by the law and severe penalties are imposed on anyone charged with an act of sexual assault. A sexual assault is a violent sexual act imposed by someone without the victim’s permission. This includes

  • inserting a penis or other part of the body into another person’s vagina, anus or mouth;
  • being made to perform oral sex;
  • being made to masturbate or made to observe someone else masturbating;
  • the touching of private parts of a person’s body through the use of force;
  • being forced to watch acts of pornography, including acts of sexual intercourse..

What is Sexual Abuse?

Sexual abuse is considered a crime and goes a step further than sexual assault, because it is when a person who, because of their position, manages to take advantage of a person’s trust and expose them to undesirable sexual acts which they feel obliged to participate. This can happen between an adult and a child, a child and one who is much older, a doctor and a patient, a teacher and student, a priest and a parishioner.

What is Defined as Rape?

Rape is an alternative word sometimes used for sexual assault. Rape is a sexual act that takes place through the use of force without consent. Date rape is similar, but the victim normally knows the perpetrator and is coerced or threatened into taking part in unwanted sexual acts. Sometimes, a victim thinks that because a drink or a meal is bought for them then they must have sex with the gift giver. If any coercion is involved, then this is considered to be date rape.

Is Sexual Assault Different from Rape?

Sexual assault can have a serious effect on the victim which may include the following feelings: shock, embarrassment, fear, feelings of worthlessness and anger. The victim’s usual relationships may be affected as well especially reaction towards sex with the normal partner. This is an event that should be shared and the victim should ensure the police are informed and the name (if known) given to them even if the perpetrator is known by the victim.

Why Does Sexual Assault Take Place?

The reasons why sexual assault and sexual abuse take place are often a mystery to people. It has been found that the perpetrator has a desire to exercise power over someone else which generally means force is involved. In Australia, victims can be virtually anyone, including women, men and children. Current statistics indicate that 16% of women and 5% of men aged 15 or more will experience sexual violence at some stage.

A person’s appearance is not necessarily a reason for sexual assault

Even though women are more likely to experience sexual assault than men there is no evidence to suggest that a woman’s appearance influences a sexual assault. In most cases the perpetrator has planned the assault and it is not just an act of uncontrolled lust. Some people think that they should consent to have sex if it’s their normal partner.

This is a myth. Everyone has to agree to sex, otherwise it is considered to be a sexual assault. Most sexual assaults occur when the victim knows the perpetrator and only 1% are committed by strangers. Unfortunately, there are some people who are more vulnerable than others. These include the intellectually disabled, drug and alcohol abusers, women who reside in the countryside and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

Sexual assault is often difficult to define but if you think you are a victim or you believe you have been wrongfully accused of sexual assault you should contact a solicitor to discuss your situation.

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