Sexual abuse is an unwanted sexual activity, with perpetrators using force, making threats or taking advantage of victims not able to give consent. It, referred to as molestation, is usually an undesired sexual behavior by one person upon another. It is often perpetrated using force or by taking advantage of another. When force is immediate, of short duration, or infrequent, it is called sexual assault.
In reference to a publication, Trends and Patterns of Sexual Assaults in Lagos South-Western Nigeria, the Pan African Medical Journal, sexual assault involves lack of consent; the use of physical force, coercion, deception or threat; and/or the involvement of a victim that is asleep, unconscious, under aged, mentally incapacitated or physically impaired as a result of voluntary or involuntary alcohol or drug consumption. The United States Department of Justice define sexual assault as any type of sexual contact or behavior that occurs without the explicit consent of the recipient.
Consent is a voluntary, sober, enthusiastic, informed, mutual, honest and verbal agreement. It is an active agreement and cannot be coerced. Consent is a process which must be asked for every step of the way; if you want to move to the next level of sexual intimacy, just ask! (marshall.edu). You don't just assume consent. I mean if the other person wants it, it's fine since they are sane in every sense of the word. Plus, seeking and acting based on consent reduces or eliminate sexual violence. It might look like the other person meant yes before you both had sex or sexual activity, hence, first off, I'd explain what it's not.
It doesn't mean silence or putting on sexy clothes, dancing or flirting. The fact that someone is dancing or flirting with you doesn't mean they want sex with you. It's not being drunk, high or being in a relationship with you. Having sex or taking advantage of someone who is high or drunk is sexual assault because they are not in their right state of mind. Also, thinking you can have sex or any other sexual activity with your partner because they are in a relationship with you is very wrong and it's sexual assault. It doesn't mean consent. It doesn't mean consent if the other person is not fighting back or they have at a time consented before. You don't assume consent because someone has at a point consented before. If you assume consent, you have sexually assaulted such person. Plus, it doesn't mean consent when the other person who is way younger, that is, a child is silent or threatened to be silent. That is not consent! So, what then is consent?
It is consent when you know and understand what is going on. It's not like you are unconscious, blacked out, asleep, underage, or have an intellectual disability. You are conscious and aware!! It's consent when you know what you want to do. It's of not influence. You are not impaired. It's consent if you are able to say what you want to do or don’t want to do and you are aware that you are giving consent and are not impaired by alcohol or drugs.
Sexual assault houses child sexual abuse, domestic violence, elderly sexual abuse, groping, rape, attempted rape, sexual harassment, mass sexual harassment, sexual assault of men and boys, incest, drug or substance-facilitated sexual assault and intimate partner sexual violence.
It can also be verbal, visual or non-contact. It's using force to make someone partake in an unwanted sexual activity or attention. It's voyeurism. Voyeurism occurs when someone peeps to watch sexual acts without their consent. It is sexual assault when someone exposes themselves in public against their will. It is sexual harassment and threats. It is forcing someone to pose for sexual pictures and sending someone unwanted texts or texting sexual chats or messages also called 'sexts' without their consent.
When perpetrators don't seek the consent and stick to the victims' consents, threats, injuries or force is used. Hence, force is beyond physical strength. Force doesn’t always refer to physical pressure. Perpetrators may use emotional coercion, psychological force, or manipulation to coerce a victim into non-consensual sex. Some perpetrators will use threats to force a victim to comply, such as threatening to hurt the victim or their family or other intimidation tactics (Rainn). This would take us to our next post, Rape. Thanks for following.