Sexual Violence: Types, Penalties, and Victim Protection

Sexual Violence: Types, Penalties, and Victim Protection

Sexual violence is a term that encompasses all criminal attempts of a sexual act. It is considered a crime since the act is done through criminal means such as violence, human trafficking, coercion, and attacks on a person’s sexuality. A lot of us only know sexual violence like rape. However, there are different types of this crime, depending on the nature of the act and the victim.

The most common and well-known crime in this category is sexual assault. It refers to any behavior or contact that is performed without any consent from the victim. This type of crime includes rape, attempted rape, and fondling. Consent is a grey area in this category, and if the victim is not a minor, the prosecution must prove without any doubt that the victim did not give any consent for the act.

If the victim is a minor, the act is automatically considered as sexual assault regardless of consent from the victim. In a case like this, the victim is considered unable to give consent due to age. If intercourse is involved, the crime falls under statutory rape and is charged heavily by the law. Child sexual abuse is common, and usually, the victims are unable to voice the assault due to pressure from the perpetrator (because they are related).

According to recent studies, around 34 percent of perpetrators are related to their victims, indicating that victims are not safe even from their own family. This crime is referred to as incest and includes all sexual contact as long as the victim’s family members are involved. Due to the complexity of the situation and pressure to avoid public embarrassment, this crime is often obscured by the victim. The family prevents the victim from filing charges against the other family member; thus the victim is forced to ask for help from outside.  

By law, the victim is protected during the hearing to get complete testimonies from both sides without public influence. Once proven guilty, the perpetrator can be sentenced up to 20 years in prison with a fine of at least $10,000. Victims are also provided free psychological check-ups to check their mental well-being to help them recover from their traumatic experiences.

Courts, however, must remain impartial to both sides in the case, since there are also a lot of individuals falsely accused of sexual crimes. Prejudices due to race and gender still exist, such as bias towards female victims and black suspects not given full rights to testify. Public and family pressure can have a significant impact on a sexual violence case, which is why our courts must strive to provide the correct decision when doing a trial.  

If you are a victim of sexual violence; knowing the type of crime you have experienced can help you gain justice. Speak up and seek help from your nearby police station immediately.