What Qualifies as Sexual Violence?

Sexual violence is an umbrella term that encompasses many different sex crimes. It is a broad category of actions in which a perpetrator uses threats, intimidation, manipulation, restraint or a position of power to engage in sexual activity with a victim without the victim’s consent. If you are a survivor of sexual violence in Kansas, you have legal rights. You can pursue justice by taking both criminal and civil action against the offender with a Kansas sexual assault attorney.

Definition of Sexual Violence

Sexual violence can refer to various offenses that violate a state’s sexual assault laws, or any sexual act that is committed against a victim without that person’s consent. Sexual violence can be committed against a stranger, an intimate partner, a coworker, a friend or a family member. It can involve children, teens, adults and elders, as well as both men and women. 

In many cases, sexual violence involves the use of force, threat of force, manipulation or other means of taking advantage of a victim for the purposes of sexual pleasure, gratification, assault or abuse. Sexual violence can describe not only physical acts but also virtual or online sexual bullying and harassment.

Types of Sexual Violence

 Since sexual violence has such a broad definition, it can sometimes be difficult to understand. You may not know for sure if what you experienced constitutes sexual violence. If you were forced, coerced or manipulated into engaging in sexual activity against your will or without your consent, you are a victim of sexual violence. Examples of acts that fall under the definition of sexual violence include:

  • Unwanted sexual touching
  • Sexual assault
  • Sexual abuse
  • Child sexual abuse
  • Child molestation
  • Elder sexual abuse
  • Intimate partner sexual abuse
  • Drug-facilitated sexual assault
  • Attempted rape
  • Statutory rape
  • Rape or sodomy
  • Penetration
  • Incest
  • Stalking
  • Sexual harassment
  • Sexual exploitation
  • Exposure of sexual organs

The exact definitions of these sex crimes change from state to state. For example, in Kansas, the definition of rape under Section 21-5503 of the law is to knowingly engage in sexual intercourse with a victim who does not consent. Not giving consent can refer to being underage (16 years old in Kansas), being overcome by force or fear, being mentally incapacitated, or being physically powerless.

What to Do When Faced With Sexual Violence

If you were targeted by a sexual predator, you have rights. First, know that you are not to blame and did not do anything wrong. There is nothing to be ashamed of or embarrassed about. If your attacker has tried to pressure you into not telling others what happened, don’t listen. Report the incident to the authorities right away by calling 911. If the attack occurred at school or work, tell administrators or your employer.

Go to a place where you feel safe, such as a friend or family member’s house or nurse’s office. If it is within five days of the sexual assault, consider obtaining a sexual assault forensic exam to help collect evidence against the perpetrator. Once you have received medical care, address the emotional and psychological side of sexual violence by speaking to a therapist or calling the national sexual assault hotline. Talking to someone can help you cope with what happened.

Cooperate with the police to bring criminal charges against the perpetrator. A criminal case could lead to a conviction and sentence that may include jail time. The individual may also be required to register on the state’s Sex Offender List for life. However, don’t stop there. Contact a sexual assault and abuse attorney in Kansas to discuss a potential civil lawsuit. Filing a civil claim against a perpetrator or institution could result in financial compensation for your medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and more to provide an additional form of justice.

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