What Is the Legal Definition of Sexual Assault?

The #MeToo movement brought sexual assault to the forefront of American culture. Both women and men were confronted by this societal issue. However, many people are still unclear about what constitutes sexual assault. State laws governing the definition of sexual assault often differ from one state to another, which makes the question “what is sexual assault” a difficult one to answer.

What Is Considered Sexual Assault?

Generally, sexual assault is any sexual act that is nonconsensual. This includes when the victim lacks the capacity to consent, which is particularly applicable to individuals with disabilities or special needs. Victims do not have to make contact with a person in order for sexual assault to occur. If someone exposes himself or herself to a victim or forces a victim to look at sexual images, this may also constitute sexual assault.

What is considered sexual assault in your state? Each state answers this question in its own way, and many states have different laws regarding sexual assault. However, the overwhelming majority of states agree that the following acts qualify as sexual assault.

  • Rape
  • Forcible sodomy
  • Unwanted sexual advances
  • Sexual contact with minors
  • Incest
  • Marital rape

An experienced sexual assault lawyer can help you determine how your state’s sexual assault laws may affect a potential case. If you are a special needs individual and were the victim of a sexual assault, you may have legal options to seek justice for what happened to you.

Sexual Abuse of People With Disabilities

Did you know that people with disabilities experience more sexual violence than those without a disability? Unfortunately, many of these incidents go unreported. People with disabilities or special needs often rely on their abusers for medical care. This may make it difficult for them to step forward and report the abuse. Also, special needs individuals may not have the capacity to communicate what happened to them, may not realize that what happened to them was actually sexual assault, or may not realize that sexual assault is illegal.

Contact Our Attorneys

At Grant & Eisenhofer P.A., we understand how difficult it is for sexual assault victims to step forward. Our attorneys approach each case with compassion and understanding. Give us a call at (855) 244-2031 for a free consultation. You can also use our online contact form to send us a message. We accept cases nationwide and have offices in several locations across the country.

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