Sexual Assault vs Rape


Sex Crimes / Sunday, March 18th, 2018

One of the very prominent topics in America lately has been sexual misconduct, whether it is in the form of harassment, assault or rape. Sexual misconduct is one of those crimes that is more prevalent than what the public records may show, as a large percentage of these types of crimes go unreported.

Sometimes, people will tend to consider sexual assault and rape as interchangeable. The truth is, the legal terms are definitely not the same. Let’s help clarify the legal definitions of these two terms.

What is Sexual Assault?

From a legal sense, sexual assault is a more general term than something called rape. Sexual assault has been defined as referring to any unwanted sexual advance or contact. This can include groping, fondling, and molestation. Minnesota Sen. Al Franken felt it necessary to resign for groping several women, which is considered sexual assault.

Sexual assault has been a term that was in effect for more than 100 years, and in some states it takes slightly different definitions, but it maintains a more general description of any sex-oriented contact.

What is Rape?

There are several different types of sexual assault, and many of them are handled with the same general sentencing guidelines. But when assault gets to a higher level and invades a person’s body, it crosses the threshold into what is called rape, which usually has more stringent sentencing guidelines.

Rape is defined in most states as unwanted sexual penetration – whether it is through the mouth, anus or vagina. Rape does not have to be violent (you know the term “date rape”?), as violence is not necessarily in the text of the legal definition, though some states will consider non-violent rape as sexual assault.

Protect Your Rights

Rape and sexual assault are both more pervasive than we know, and they are often crimes of power rather than crimes of passion or sex as many normally think. Whether it is sexual assault or rape, they are crimes about power, or the perception of a power advantage. Sexual assault or rape, even just an allegation, dramatically affects reputations and image of those embroiled in the allegations whether as a victim or an an accused perpetrator.

Sexual assault and rape are very serious charges, and it is necessary for you to secure an aggressive attorney who will defend your rights, whether you are a victim or accused. Don’t take anything for granted in these cases; the scrutiny of both victim and the perpetrator will be intense, and getting to the real truth is more important than perception. The truth, after all, will set you free.