Sexual Assault – Rape
The federal government defines sexual assault as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient. Falling under the definition of sexual assault are sexual activities as forced sexual intercourse, forcible sodomy, child molestation, incest, fondling, and attempted rape.
Rape is defined as sexual penetration of a victim by the defendant. If the defendant commits rape while armed, causes bodily injury, or is aided by another person, the more serious offense of aggravated rape is charged.
Rape By Victim – Incapacity To Consent
If intercourse occurs when a participant is unable to give consent due to drug or alcohol intoxication, or due to mental incapacity, the act is rape. The rape of a child under the age of thirteen usually carries the same penalties as aggravated rape. Statutory rape is sex between a defendant at least four years older than the victim and a victim between thirteen and eighteen years of age.
Defenses To Rape
Typically, there are only two defenses to rape. They are either the defense that the subject consented to the act and as such, there was no force. And there is the defense that the victim has misidentified the accused. Meaning the defendant is not the one who committed the offence. With the advent of DNA technology, the defense of mistaken identity is difficult for the defense to prove.
The Defense of Consent
The best way to explain the defense of consent is to state what consent is not:
- Silence. Just because someone does not say “no” doesn’t mean she is saying “yes.”
- Having consented before. Just because someone said “yes” in the past does not mean she is saying “yes” now. Consent must be part of every sexual activity, every time.
- Formerly being in a relationship. Having been married, dating, or having sexual contact with someone before does not mean that there is consent now.
- Being drunk or high.
- Not fighting back. Not putting up a physical fight does not mean that there is consent.
- Wearing sexy clothing, dancing, or flirting. Only “yes” means “yes.”
- If you are victim of rape or sexual assault contact the rape crisis center nearest to you, by dialing: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC) at 1-877-739-3895.