Sexual assault has been a concerning matter worldwide for centuries. According to the United States Department of Justice and the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network, every two minutes, there is a new victim of sexual assault in America. Although the rate of these crimes has dropped by half over the past decade, there is still a strong prevalence of these assault cases that needs to be addressed.
Sexual assault refers to any involuntary act of a sexual nature, in which an unwilling participant is either threatened, coerced, or otherwise forced to perform said actions against their will or without their expressed consent. Examples of such actions include rape (forced penetrative sex involving any orifice), physical contact such as groping or touching, as well as any torturing of a sexual nature. Although the exact conditions of the offense vary across legal jurisdictions, such conduct is almost universally prohibited.
Over the course of the last two decades, significant strides have been made within the nation to address and combat sexual assault, under the current leadership of President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden. In his presidential proclamation made on March 29 of 2013, President Obama named April 2013 as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. Earlier in March, the President also signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, which expands upon the original federal law signed by former President Bill Clinton on September 13 of 1994. The law is designed to grant women the peace of mind that comes from having federal services dedicated to the treatment and prevention of domestic violence crimes in America. A national hotline, rape crisis centers, and funding dedicated to the Native American and LGBT communities are just a few of the revisions made within the reauthorized law.
Sexual assault cases involving date rape pose another concerning matter on a worldwide scale sexual assault cases. Date rape is a term most commonly used to address a drug-facilitated sexual encounter in which an inhibiting substance can hinder the victim’s ability to consent. According the United State Bureau of Justice, rape cases in which both the perpetrator and victim have consumed alcohol make up 47 percent of the total. Another common scenario involved in date rape cases are those where the victim is unknowingly entered into a situation where the act of giving consent is no longer an option. This can be from either the result of being intentionally administered drugs or alcohol, or being coerced by someone while already under the influence of a substance that negatively impacts the central nervous system.
Another highly problematic form of sexual assault is when the targeted victims are children. Also known as child molestation, victims of this type of assault are solicited by adults with the intention of gaining some form of sexual stimulation. It is estimated that one in five girls and one in 20 boys are victims of some form of sexual abuse, and that children most vulnerable to sexual assault are between the ages of seven and 13. These experiences often result in severe psychological damage and it is not uncommon for cases to go unreported until years after the initial incidents have occurred. The concerning matters surrounding the countless individuals who are taken advantage of by way of sexual assault is a worldwide issue that warrants constant vigilance in the fight to deter these attacks in every way possible.
By Darrell Purcell