Did you know:
- Every 2 minutes someone is sexually assaulted
- College women are 4 times more likely to be sexually assaulted
- Over 80% of rapists know their victim
Sexual Assault Definition
Under Ohio law, any type of non-consensual sexual activity (sexual contact or sexual conduct without permission) is a sexual assault. This includes the legal charges of rape, sexual battery, gross sexual imposition, and sexual imposition. If a person is passed out due to excessive alcohol use or drug use, they are unable to give consent and therefore this is a sexual assault. Persons with limited mental capacity and the very old can be unable to give consent due to their mental capacity or age. Read more.
“Sexual conduct” is a legal term meaning penetration by intercourse—orally, anally, or vaginally. “Sexual contact” is a legal term for the touching of the erogenous zones on another person (breasts, thighs, buttocks) for sexual gratification.
Sexual assault is a grouping of crimes in the Ohio Criminal Code which include:
- Rape: Rape and sexual assault are not technically interchangeable words although they are often used by people in the same way. Sexual assault is the umbrella term for the different types of sexual offenses which fall under it. Rape is only one type of sexual assault crime. Every rape is a sexual assault but not every sexual assault is a rape. Rape is the most serious felony of the sexual assault offenses. Rape is sexual conduct by force or threat of force. Stranger or date/acquaintance rapes are terms which define the nature of the relationship between the victim and the offender prior to the assault. Rape by a date or acquaintance carries the same penalties as rape by a stranger. Drug facilitated sexual assault is if a victim thinks “date rape” drugs were used. Legally, that is rape. The law regarding the consumption of alcohol and/or drugs is determined by the charge against the assailant, and the charge is determined by the prosecutor on a case by case basis.
- Sexual battery: Sexual battery is penetration orally, anally, or vaginally by coercion. Coercion is the use of intimidation to gain compliance; often a victim faces two dangerous choices and has to decide which choice will have greater consequences. This is a felony level crime. An example of sexual battery would be if a man threatened to send all of his friends naked pictures of a women if she did not have sex with him.
- Gross sexual imposition: Gross sexual imposition is unwanted touching by force or threat of force, and is also a felony.
- Sexual imposition: Sexual imposition is unwanted touching by coercion and is a misdemeanor offense.
- Corruption of a minor: Corruption of a minor is engaging in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts with a person under the age of consent or another age set by a statue, especially if there is a considerable age difference. The legal age of consent in Ohio is 16.
- Importuning: Importuning is persistently soliciting a person under the age of 13 to engage in sexual intercourse or other sexual acts, or soliciting another person to engage in sexual intercourseor sexual activities with a person who is 18 year old or older, or is 4 year older than the other person, while the other person is 13 or older, but 16 or younger.
- Voyeurism: Voyeurism is when a person derives sexual pleasure from seeing the naked body and genitals of another person or watching them engage in sexual activities. Voyeurism is a form of paraphilia.
- Public indecency: Public indecency is exposing one’s private body parts or engaging in sexual activities, or masturbation in a public place.
- Consent means giving permission for something to happen and must be given freely.
- Consent must be given in order for the sexual contact/conduct to be considered legal. Consent must be given verbally or in an overwhelmingly physical way (i.e. her taking off her own clothes, her taking off her partner’s clothes, her opening a condom). Silence does not equal consent.
- Consent also means that the person is of legal age (16 in Ohio) and has no mental limitations.
The majority of sexual assaults are committed by “normal” friends or acquaintances—people who are known to the victim and who are not diagnosed as insane. The assault may be violent or it may be psychologically terrifying without physical force involved. The perpetrator is not a “sex maniac” because the purpose for the assault is for power and control, NOT for sexual pleasure. Read more.
The victim’s past sexual history has no bearing on the criminal elements needed to prove rape. Having had consensual sex in the past does not mean someone has to consent to sex each time it is available. People can enjoy something which is pleasurable in one situation, and they have the right to refuse to participate at another time. If one person forces another to have sexual intercourse, rape has occurred whether or not the victim fights back. In some cases, fighting the perpetrator could result in more harm to the victim. Each person in the situation has to decide what is right for them at that moment.
If someone is unconscious and, therefore, defenseless, it is no more right to have sex with the person that it is to rob or murder them. This is a criminal act and against the law and can be prosecuted.
Some examples of compliance under pressure are:
- You’re my girlfriend; it’s your obligation to have sex with me.
- What’s the matter, don’t you like me?
- I love you. I want to prove my love to you.
- I can’t stop now.
- If you don’t have sex with me I’ll tell everyone you did it anyway.
- You’re not the only girl I could date.
- Let’s leave this party and get to know each other.
- It will help our relationship.
- Here, have another beer. You’ll feel friendlier.
- What do you mean “no?” I spent all that money on you.
- We’ve had sex before; you can’t say no now.
- You should be grateful I even go out with you.
- You think you’re too good for me.
- You’re a slut anyway.